Actor Owiso Odera '96 means to change the way Hollywood tells Africa's story, and in so doing tell his own.
It won't be easy. Hollywood is primarily driven by money, as Odera himself acknowledges, and the film and television industry has rarely embraced the breadth and depth of Africa's culture and history. Odera doesn't seem to mind the seemingly Sisyphean task.
"I have a voice, and it needs to be heard," he says simply. "If along the way I am the first whatever to do this, then that's fine. That might make it seem much more like a daunting task. Or like a burden you carry or whatever. But it's not."
Odera - who acted in several plays but majored in computer science at Earlham - is making strides in the right direction. He has appeared in recurring roles in such television series' as "Numb3rs," "Flash Forward," "Three Rivers" and "The Unit." He also appeared on the stages of such regional theaters as Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Old Globe in San Diego and Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, Mass. He hopes that his career will lead to more opportunities to play Africans on stage and screen.
"What I'm really interested in are stories that just celebrate who we are as people. Celebrate our lives, everything we've done or accomplished," Odera says.
Owiso Odera 1996, Actor
M.F.A. University of California at San Diego
Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif.
Major at Earlham: Computer Science
Interests: Africa, theatre, television, film