Can Yvonne Orji’s upcoming comedy series ‘First Gen’ break out of Nigerian stereotypes?

Yvonne Orji

Yvonne Orji isn’t slowing down in pursuing personal projects. According to reports, the Insecure star is developing a comedy series titled First Gen, a show about her experience as a Nigerian-born, first-generation American. First Gen is heading straight to Disney Plus, where it will premiere, with David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey serving as executive producers.

More details on the plot reveal that as a child, Orji is caught between trying to honour her parents and culture while simultaneously trying to assimilate to American life. This is a more advanced take on the theme she embraced in her shiny HBO comedy special Momma, I Made It released last year, which was met with mixed reactions especially from Nigerians who felt the show didn’t accurately represent them, clinging to longstanding stereotypes about Nigerians.

The Nigerian experience is diverse and isn’t a monolith in itself. But when one narrative is steadily embraced as a full representation of a people, or greenlit as a show because it doesn’t attempt to break out of stereotypic moulds or framings and American media powerhouses find it more ”sellable,” then it becomes a problem.

First Gen is Orji’s story, autobiographical both in Nigerian and American parts, but it must acknowledge the pitfalls around sharing a Nigerian experience that elicits the worst biases in people. No release date for First Gen has been released yet.

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