Oscar-winning film actress, Lupita Nyong’o and Adepero Oduye, along with Senegalese-born Hip-hop mogul and philanthropist, Akon, joined forces with a host celebrities such as Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, Estelle, and Rosario Dawson to make a video marking June as Immigrant History Month. The event has been celebrated for three years, but President Obama made it official last year.
According to statistical data from the Pew Research Center, 3.8 million foreign-born blacks, mostly from Africa and the Caribbean, currently calls the United States their place of abode, with that number growing steadily. The projection is that by 2060, black immigrants will make up 16.5 percent of the U.S. black population,
The video, which was backed by non-profit group, Welcome.us, pictures Lupita, Akon and Adepero while wearing the campaign’s hashtag slogan #IAmAnImmigrant on their t-shirts, sharing their perspective on why immigrants are integral to the diversity that shapes America’s strength and uniqueness in the world.
“What I think is so wonderful about America is the fact that it’s a society of immigrants,” Nyong’o, also Kenyan star of Danai Gurira‘s critically acclaimed Broadway play “Eclipsed,” says.
Akon, who grew up in the U.S. but boasts of an early childhood in Dakar, offered his take in solidarity with immigrants’ tremendous contributions to America in the video which was uploaded Wednesday:
“The notion of America not supporting immigrants to me is absurd. When you look at history, America was built on immigrants. You can go as far back as three, four hundred years, it was built by slaves at the end of the day who weren’t from here.”
Oduye, also a Nigerian from Brooklyn, adds, “To me when I see ‘immigrant’ and I think ‘immigrant’, I think strength. I think strong. I think triumph.”
Each of the 50 celebrities featured were photographed by “Beasts of No Nation” director Cary Fukunaga.
You can join your favorite celebs in commemorating Immigrant History Month with hashtag#IAmAnImmigrant on social media, use Welcome.us’ custom photo filter and cop an “I Am an Immigrant” tee. To learn more visit here.
Below is a snippet of Akon’s interview for the campaign.