HBO’s Insecure may be ending after its fifth season, but Yvonne Orji (Night School), who plays high-powered lawyer Molly Carter, already has another television project of her own lined up at Disney Plus, as reported by Deadline. Orji’s inaugural television screenwriting credit will come in the form of a half-hour comedy series titled First Gen, Variety reports. The Emmy-nominated performer shares executive producer duties with British actor David Oyelowo (Selma, A United Kingdom) and media mogul Oprah Winfrey (A Wrinkle in Time, The Color Purple), according to Deadline.
First Gen is allegedly based on Orji’s childhood experiences as a Nigerian immigrant raised in the United States, via Deadline. The project has been gestating for a few years, via Orji’s recollections on her Instagram: “The trailer I shot in 2015 for this family sitcom I wanted to create is what helped me get an audition for Insecure on HBO. Five years later (after being told ‘no’ several times), my lil’ engine that could finally has a home with the Disney Plus family.”
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The trailer to which Orji refers can still be viewed on an official First Gen YouTube channel. Take a look at the roots of what is soon to become Orji’s Disney Plus series below:
Orji has been known to incorporate her Nigerian background into her body of work as a comedian. Her 2020 HBO special Momma, I Made It intercut excerpts from her stand-up set with documentary segments set in Lagos where she interacted with personal friends and people on the street, as well as her real-life mother and father, the source of much of Orji’s material in the special. In an interview with IndieWire, Orji spoke about why she brought them in on the process: “I couldn’t just get onstage and say the things I was going to say about them with[out] them having their say, while also speaking for other immigrant parents with children like myself who have been Americanized and in some ways, strayed from their career wishes for us– wishes that they likely had since we were born.”
Oyelowo, like Orji, is the child of Nigerian parents. He too is intimately familiar with the challenges that come with parental approval of a career in the arts. When the two-time Golden Globe nominee sat down with Winfrey on Oprah Prime in 2014 to discuss his life, he admitted that his father’s validation did not come until one particular performance he gave with the Royal Shakespeare Company: “The notion of being an artist, being an actor, for a Nigerian family is bizarre… [My father] always thought it was a phase until… I played the king of England…. And afterwards, at the stage door, I saw him and he said, ‘I cannot believe this. That, in this country, they would allow a Black man to be the king of England and it is my son.’ And that was the moment he became my number-one fan.”