Black History Month 2022: Influential British Figures Today I Oxford Open Learning
Daniel Kaluuya

Black History Month 2022: Influential British Figures Today

Daniel Kaluuya

The Powerlist 2022 lists the most influential Black Britons of the year. Actor Daniel Kaluuya is number four on that list. But what has made him such an important public figure?

Daniel Kaluuya was born in London on the 24th February 1989 to Ugandan parents. At the age of nine he wrote a play based on 90s TV personalities Kenan and Kel and was lucky enough to have this play performed at London’s Hampstead Theatre after entering and winning a playwriting competition. Kaluuya later attended the Anna Scher Theatre School, which has seen the likes of Naomi Harris, Dizzee Rascal and Reggie Yates pass through its doors. The school was known for encouraging and developing improvisation in acting, a skill which Kaluuya would come to use in some of his professional roles.

Screen Breakthrough

Kaluuya’s first screen appearance was in the controversial 2006 BBC film Shoot The Messenger and a year later he secured the role of Posh Kenneth in the E4 teen drama Skins. As well as being an actor, Kaluuya contributed to the writing of Skins, co-writing a number of episodes. His work on Skins led him to secure a number of bit parts and guest appearances on other British TV series’ including Psychoville (2009 – 2011) and the second episode of Black Mirror in 2011. He also appeared in a number of stage productions at London’s Royal Court Theatre which included a starring role in the play Sucker Punch in 2010.

Prominent Roles In Film

After struggling to find more starring roles in UK film and television productions, Kaluuya turned his attention to the US but the lack of job offers continued. In a conversation with Interview magazine in 2017, he expressed that he almost gave up acting, having not worked for over a year, but it was at this point that he was cast in a starring role in Jordan Peele’s now iconic film Get Out. This role, for which he received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, propelled Kaluuya to the forefront of Hollywood and he has since appeared in a prominent role in movies such as Sicario, Judas and the Messiah, for which he won numerous awards, and the blockbuster Black Panther. In 2019, he launched his own production company, 59%, and he is currently working as a writer and producer on The Kitchen, a Netflix film due to be released in 2023.

You can read about Jacky Wright, another of the people on The Powerlist 2022 in one of Oxford Open Learning’s other blog posts this month, or by visiting Top 10 Most Powerful Black Persons In The UK of 2022.


Image attributed: Gage Skidmore

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