As stated in his inspirational 2017 TEDx Talks, American actor Okieriete Onaodowan or Oak Onaodowan, probably most known for his dual part in the musical Hamilton, believes he has a strange yet distinct African name.
You Must Remove Your Own Shoes to Walk a Mile in My Shoes
The actor began his speech with an adage that his mother used to remind him, “You can’t run faster than your shoes.” He admitted that he frequently uses the term to convince others to practice patience.
“You can’t get past your circumstances; you are where you are,” Onaodowan explained the proverb’s true meaning. You have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to genuinely comprehend them.”
The 33-year-old clarified that the adage meant that one could not put on another shoe until the previous one was removed. He explained, “The shoes symbolize one’s circumstances to select between right and wrong.”
Then he presented himself as “Okieriete Onaodowa,” a unique African name he grew up with.
Born into a proud Nigerian family
On August 16, 1987, in Newark, New Jersey, the gifted theatre performer was born to Nigerian parents. He grew up in East Orange, New Jersey. During the same press conference, Onaodowan claimed that he was reared in a proud family in a disadvantaged East Orange neighborhood.
He also spoke about his younger self, who believed that “assimilation was the only way to be accepted.” The artist went on to illustrate it further by using an example from his own childhood. He claimed that a buddy had gave him a food stamp, which he used to buy candy.
However, as soon as he approached his mother, she took the stamp from him and chastised Onaodowan. His mother, he claims, couldn’t look past their pride and felt insulted when someone offered assistance. It was damaging to her self-esteem because she worked long days and even longer nights.
The actor, on the other hand, saw no problem or embarrassment in accepting the gift as a child. His mother believed the gift came from someone who suspected his family was in financial distress.
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Against his parents’ wishes, he entered the theatre.
The New Jersey Youth Theatre, a well-known training school for aspiring performers, welcomed the Station 19 star. His parents, on the other hand, were opposed to his plan to pursue a profession in acting.
In fact, Onaodowan’s parents urged him to go to college to finish his studies. He went to Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University as a compromise to make them pleased. He withdrew out soon after to concentrate on his acting career.
Despite the fact that the New Jersey native is best recognized for his roles in Hamilton, it was not his first show. He had previously appeared in stage productions such as The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, in which he played Pontius Pilate. He was also a member of the band American Idiot, which was inspired by the Green Day album of the same name.
Onaodowan also appeared in Rocky, a remake of the first installment in the long-running sports film franchise. It was just before the 2015 Broadway musical Hamilton. The Incredible Oak nailed the duel parts of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in Hamilton.