Black Panther has unearthed a plethora of black pride, paired with a killer storyline of our ancestry and the African Diaspora. It’s very political and necessary. In the midst of the movie’s frenzy, one of its actors, Bambadjan Bamba, revealed he’s an undocumented immigrant and a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient, CNN reports.
Bamba is originally from the Ivory Coast and came to New York City’s South Bronx neighborhood when he was 10 years old. He recalls not knowing any English, and only being able to communicate in French. Eventually, he and his family settled in Richmond, Va., and established a hair braiding business.
The 36-year-old has been acting for the past 10 years and has starred in small roles in Grey’s Anatomy and Suicide Squad. Once he heard about the DACA program—which gives undocumented people who came with their parents as children illegally to the U.S. a temporary protected status—was in jeopardy he decided to speak out.
“I needed to use my voice as an actor to try to humanize this issue and try to put a face and a voice to who DACA recipients really are,” he told CNN. “When the administration says they wanted to cancel DACA, that’s when I decided I couldn’t stay quiet anymore.”
Amid his trajectory, Bamba’s parents were able to obtain U.S. Naturalization, but because he was 21 at the time, he was unable to be legalized by his parents’ new status.
Though his character in Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster hit is nameless, the impact that he’s caused by speaking his truth is undeniable. He credits his relentless faith to his Catholic beliefs, and also the miracles that have happened in his life like having a daughter.
“Doctors told us it was impossible, there was no way you all are gonna have kids. She’s a miracle baby.” Bamba noted. “If she was able to happen, then I believe this immigration thing is not as big a miracle as she is.”
— Define American 🇺🇸 (@DefineAmerican) February 17, 2018