The Story of Oscar-Nominee Gabourey Sidibe; the Award Winning ‘Precious’ Lead Actress

Posted by Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya

Don’t look so perplexed; Gabourey’s father Ibnou Sidibe hails from Senegal, Africa and from where I sit, that makes her 100% African.

Born May 6, 1983, to her aforementioned father who was a cab-driver, and her mother, a teacher-cum-singer, Gabourey was raised in Harlem, New York. She studied Psychology at Mercy College, New York, attended The City College of New York and the Borough of Manhattan Community College whose most famous alumnus is Queen Latifah.

Gabourey’s parents were divorced while she was young and the unfortunate incident had a ripple effect on her choices and career path. As a first-hand witness of her mother’s financial struggles, Gabourey was deeply needful of the security that lay in a good education and a white collar job. Indeed, as she revealed in an interview with Wendy Williams, she had no interest in acting although she was cast in school plays as a child and bit parts in local theatre.

Gabourey worked at the Fresh Air Fund’s office as a receptionist concurrently studying until her break out role and magna opus eponymous character in the movie, ‘Precious’ in 2009. The film won numerous awards, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award. Gabourey was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She also received a string of awards from various bodies including the Chicago International Film Festival Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress, the Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress, the Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, the Hollywood Film Award for

Muraya, Magatte Wade, Isha Sesay, Chimamanda Adichie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Liya Kebede, Genevieve Nnaji, Ory Okolloh, Isis Nyongo, and Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu.

The ‘Precious’ Crew

For the 30-year old who was once told to “quit the business [of entertainment]” by an A-list Hollywood actress, -no less-, Gabourey has every reason to stand as an icon of sheer determination and talent.

For our women-folk in entertainment, there is a lesson in this narrative; read it, decipher it, and copy genius.

© 2013, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.

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