Yvonne Orji is blazing her path in the world of comedy, but there’s one thing the Insecure star wants you to know she takes seriously. According to The Huffington Post, the Nigerian actress weighed in on the current rhetoric towards immigrants in the United States during a panel on women and diversity in entertainment on Wednesday (Mar. 8).
“There’s a lot of negative speak about what it means to be an immigrant,” she said at the Los Angeles event. “I’m like, ‘OK, I don’t know where that came from.’ We do the dirty jobs. We do the good jobs. We get the job done.”
Failure has never been a choice for Orji, who emigrated to the U.S. at the age of six and later turned to the arts after studying to become an OBGYN. “Knowing I was entering the industry that was not the norm for anyone in my family. My father was like, ‘If you’re going to do this, do it the best. … There’s a whole country that you would let down.'”
“I didn’t come here with any kind of connection,” she continued. “I literally came here with Jesus. Through family and faith, that’s literally what gave me my vision. You can’t tell me no, because you can’t tell Jesus no. It doesn’t work.”
Now that she’s well on her way, Orji is committed to expanding how Africans are represented on television with her upcoming sitcom, First Gen. “[It’s] a young adult story and it’s an immigrant story,” she explained to JET Magazine. “I think we’re all immigrants in a certain way because we all came here from somewhere else. I think we all have an immigrant story and it’s an underdog story. It’s also really important to have a show that depicts Africans just being the neighbor next door, and not putting anything more on them. They’re not fleeing genocide, they’re not war lords, they’re just regular people with traditions, customs, culture and actions that may be different from the norm but they go through things like everyone else.”