‘Bob Hearts Abishola' Breakout Star Folake Olowofoyeku
Written by BET on January 18, 2021
The romantic pairing of a Nigerian lady and a white American man might as soon as have appeared an unlikely premise for a sitcom, however due to a tv viewers more and more used to interracial romance in actual life, it has translated into successful for the CBS series “Bob Hearts Abishola.”
Now in its second season, the present explores tradition by the courtship of cardiac nurse Abishola, performed by Folake Olowofoyeku, and a middle-aged businessman Bob Wheeler, a Detroit manufacturing facility proprietor, performed by Mike & Molly star Billy Gardell.
Within the first season, the 2 primary characters meet whereas Bob is recovering within the hospital from a coronary heart assault. Instantly smitten, Bob pursues a romantic relationship with Abishola however should overcome her disinterest and navigate their cultural variations.
Firstly of the second season, which began in November, the couple will get engaged. Nonetheless, strolling down the aisle is way from sure. Obstacles lie forward, together with the truth that Abishola remains to be married to her estranged husband who nonetheless lives in Nigeria.
Olowofoyeku spoke with BET.com about fan response to the present and the way this unconventional pairing really makes excellent sense.
BET.com: Bob and Abishola come from two completely different worlds. What do they see in one another?
Folake Olowofoyeku: They’re each accountable for caring and the maintenance of their households. They supply one thing that’s lacking in one another’s life.
Abishola has at all times approached life in a decided and targeted means — no room for enjoyable, principally work, work, work. Very pushed. Bob additionally has that very same mentality.
What she finds in him is the enjoyable that’s lacking in her life, and what he finds in her is the power and help that’s lacking in his life.
BET.com: Abishola and Gloria, the Black American nurse on the present (Vernee Watson), typically have nuanced and witty exchanges that spotlight their very own cultural variations. What ought to a Black American viewers perceive about Nigerian tradition in relation to courting and marriage?
Olowofoyeku: That’s a loaded query for me as a result of I used to be by no means into custom. Additionally, I can’t communicate for each Nigerian. I can solely communicate from my expertise and issues that I’ve heard.
Some households are extra conventional than others. Some households apply polygamy, some households apply organized marriages, and there are some households that apply youngster marriages. There are some individuals who go as far as to say it’s essential to marry somebody from the identical tribe or the identical village. So, there’s a broad vary.
I don’t come from a household that’s concerned in my romantic life. But, I do know that’s one thing that’s widespread on the identical time. I believe historically, for Nigerian families, if we’re going means again to pre-colonial instances, a variety of inventory was positioned into the long run technology and what was going to return out of a union. It was like a royal household, in a means. And a few folks have carried that apply over. And a few beliefs are a bit of bit extra trendy. They consider in love, which is what the present is targeted on portraying.
BET.com: The present maintains its Nigerian authenticity and finds a strategy to join with an American viewers rather well. How’d you uncover this completely satisfied medium?
Olowofoyeku: What we attempt to deal with is the final expertise of a Nigerian immigrant in America. Gina Yashere (who performs Abishola’s greatest buddy, Kemi) pulls from her expertise as a first-generation Nigerian rising up in England.
Talking from the attitude of an actor, I went to varsity in America, and earlier than that, I grew up in Nigeria and went to boarding faculty. I fuse all my experiences into my character. What I attempt to deal with is merging these two worlds.
I studied appearing right here in America. Which means I perceive the rhythms of American speech in the way in which to ship jokes.
After I’m delivering a line, as an example, if I had been with my Nigerian mates, hanging out and speaking casually with a Nigerian accent, you most likely wouldn’t perceive what I used to be saying. I can’t come on the present and painting Abishola that means since you would wish subtitles. Nevertheless it’s essential that she retains the genuine Nigerian accent.
It resonates with an American viewers as a result of there was an enormous cry for numerous content material for a very long time. America is a melting pot. There are such a lot of cultures right here. I believe persons are completely satisfied to see one thing recent, one thing full of affection, heartfelt.
And Nigerian-Individuals adore it. They completely adore it. And it’s not simply Nigerian immigrants. It’s additionally immigrants generally, like Caribbeans. It additionally mirrors their expertise. That’s the attractive factor in regards to the present. It crosses cultures.
What I hear loads is that it’s a feel-good household present. You stroll away with a smile in your face. It’s a breath of recent air for lots of people. The main focus is love, and nobody can argue with love. Everybody desires love.
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BET.com: Why didn’t the present deal with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, and the way has the police killings of Floyd and others like Breonna Taylor impacted you personally?
Olowofoyeku: There’s a lot occurring on the earth proper now. The homicide of George Floyd, I used to be vastly affected by it. I went to quite a few marches.
There are heavy issues that we’re coping with on the earth. I believe Chuck (the present’s creator and government producer Chuck Lorre) and the producers and writers determined that they needed the present to be an escape. They needed it to deal with love, an aspiration of what we wish the world to be. That’s why they made that call.
I’m very obsessed with advocacy. I simply don’t like something unfair generally, from the smallest to the biggest. I’ve seemed for causes to help again in Nigeria and right here in America, and that’s ongoing.
I made it a degree to help in any means I might: whether or not it was a easy retweet to tell my mates about what’s occurring on the earth or going on the market (to protest).
A type of days we had the biggest prove for a George Floyd march right here in L.A. And there have been quite a few different ones the place we’ve marched. I used to be there as nicely. I’m nonetheless discovering my means on the earth with this ardour that I’ve, looking for one of the best ways to help, to provide again and to make use of my platform for equality.
BET.com: Every forged member brings a ardour and authenticity to their position. What’s the perfect half about working with them?
Olowofoyeku: Everyone seems to be such a professional. Welcome to the Chuck Lorre universe. I used to be advised how lucky I used to be to return into the sport with this specific group of individuals, and I’ve seen that. It’s apparent from the extent that everyone performs: the writers, the administrators, the producers. It’s an ideal ensemble. It’s a very good place to study the enterprise.
I’m selecting up as a lot as I can from Billy as a result of he’s clearly a veteran with Mike & Molly. We present up and everyone seems to be on high of their recreation. It’s a fantastic place to be.
BET.com: Are you able to share a bit of bit about what followers can anticipate in upcoming episodes. Will Bob and Abishola really get married?
Olowofoyeku: Nicely, I do not know. We solely shoot a number of episodes at a time. We don’t get our script till a number of days earlier than we begin taking pictures. So, I’m going to be simply as shocked as you guys, to search out out if Bob and Abishola lastly do get married and the place they get married. I do know I’ve my want checklist for them.
I might love us to pack up and go to Nigeria and shoot a few episodes there. It might be marvelous if we might shoot your entire marriage ceremony in Nigeria as a result of weddings in Nigeria take a number of days. That might be nice.
I’ll let you know although, it begins to get a bit of intense within the subsequent few episodes. I believe this present is groundbreaking in so some ways; not solely is it the primary Nigerian-American TV present in America, but it surely’s additionally a hybrid. It’s not only a sitcom. There’s additionally an intense quantity of drama and authenticity within the storyline. You’ll see these arising within the subsequent few episodes.