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Folake Olowofoyeku talks cultural impact of ‘Bob Hearts Abisola’ as final season of the sitcom kicks off

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BHA_S5_Horizontal.JPG Photo Credit: CBS

Folake Olowofoyeku, the charismatic actress at the heart of the popular CBS sitcom, ”Bob Hearts Abishola,” has shed light on the cultural impacts of the show, emphasizing the significance of authentic representation of African culture.

The show, which premiered in September 2019, follows the unconventional love story between Bob, a middle-aged sock businessman, and Abishola, a Nigerian immigrant nurse. Olowofoyeku’s portrayal of Abishola, a Nigerian immigrant navigating life in the United States, has become a cultural touchstone, breaking stereotypes and providing a nuanced perspective on the African diaspora.

Through the lens of Abishola, Olowofoyeku highlighted the difficulties of bridging cultural gaps, showcasing the challenges and triumphs of immigrants in a foreign land. The character brings forth a strong sense of identity, proudly displaying her Nigerian heritage while adapting to the complexities of American life. The series explored their unique relationship, blending humor, romance, and cultural clashes.

Read Also: Creator of The Big Bang Theory introduces new TV show about a Nigerian immigrant

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Speaking in an exclusive interview with Ameyaw TV, the multi-talented Olowofoyeku shared some personal highlights of the journey on the series, which is now its fifth and final season.

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“The Devil’s Hot Tub” – Abishola and Kemi’s friendship is pushed to the edge when Kemi wants to disregard Nigerian tradition and have a Las Vegas wedding. Also, Bob and the Wheelers have to avert a strike at MaxDot before it sinks the family business, on BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA, Monday, Feb. 26 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs)*. Pictured: Folake Olowofoyeku as Abishola. Photo credit: Michael Yarish/2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

She said: ‘There’s been so much growth, this is the first time in my life I had a job longer than a month. Also, the impact that the show has had on the culture, I would say is one of the many highlights. It’s giving context to the Immigrant experience, not just in America but globally and not just for Nigerian immigrants, I think every kind of immigrant and it’s shown that regardless of what we look like and sound like, we all want love at the end of the day.

”And so this show was timely, considering the climate for the world globally I think it was something that uplifted folks and provided an escape. So I’m grateful for those being the highlights that this project is associated with and in terms of the impact culturally the awareness it created for African culture,” she added.

Olowofoyeku, who doubles as a musician averred that impact has been shocking as she never imagined that venturing into the series would make such an impeccable impact on the culture.

”The impact has been shocking because I didn’t realize venturing into this would mean so much to so many people. I was just the starving artist who had been in the game for a very long time, over 15 years before I got this job. One of the defense mechanisms was to just leave it on the table and forget about it. I did the same with this project and luckily it turned out to be the magnificent gift that has been so I’m filled with gratitude for it.”

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Oprah Winfrey and Folake Olowofoyeku behind the scenes at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards, airing live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, Sunday, Feb. 4 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/5:00-8:30 PM, live PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+.* Photo: Francis Specker/CBS ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Olowofoyeku also opened up about her NAACP Image Awards nomination in the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series category. The annual awards ceremony, which is presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is held to honor outstanding performances in film, television, music, and literature.

”I felt like I was being recognized by my people and that meant a lot to me. The NAACP is responsible for the opportunity that I have in this country, and the work that they’ve done is the reason I can come to America and flourish the way I wasn’t able to do at home. I’m grateful for that acknowledgement it made me feel proud,’‘ she said.

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On how her achievements have translated back home in Nigeria in terms of work opportunities and acceptance, Olowofoyeku remarked: ”It’s bittersweet because the reason I left Nigeria was because I wasn’t able to do what I’m doing here. I had to leave the home that I love. I would happily have remained in Nigeria but fate would have it that, where opportunities lay for me would be in this country. It is also like a full circle moment because going back home the acceptance that I wanted now exists so many years later doing the exact same thing I was told not to do.

” I also feel slighted in a way. I feel slighted for having to leave my home but I think the bigger plan and the greater good and something cosmically was in play, because the fact that my mother on the show has my mother’s name in real life and all the characters of Yoruba descent on the show are from where my father is from, makes it feel like there was there was greater work outside of my comfort to be done and I’m grateful for that,’‘ she added.

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