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Chiwetel Ejiofor Jokes About the Worst Pronunciation of his Names on The Ellen Show



Chiwetel Ejiofor & Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show - January 2014 - BellaNaija

Okay let’s face it, Chiwetel Ejiofor can be a tongue twister for many.

The 12 Years a Slave actor who is racking Oscar buzz, and has already been nominated for a SAG Award, was a guest on Ellen DeGeneres‘ “The Ellen Show“.

When asked about the worst pronunciation of his names, the British-Nigerian actor gave the talk show host a funny one. But he did reveal it has gotten better now.

Check it out!


  1. SHE

    January 16, 2014 at 3:09 am


  2. Diya

    January 16, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Chiwetel is “young” and wasn’t born in the 1800s but he is able to say something about the film and era of the story. Genevieve, take note.

    • right

      January 16, 2014 at 6:39 am

      Nollywood actresses should learn from Lupita. That’s how you ‘make’ it in Hollywood with ONE movie. She did her work with Shuga, went to the right schools ( liberal arts college and Yale drama school) and did those auditions.

      Nigerians be doing 2 month course in NY film academy and be saying one liners in VH1 series as ‘extras’ side eying Omotola.

    • Hope

      January 16, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Lol…Your right though.

    • her

      January 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Lool Cheeky

    • guest

      January 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Our seasoned actresses are not as privileged as Lupita, by the fact that her father is a senator in her country and she was born in Mexico, asides from the fact that she could afford to go to Yale as well. However, I hope for the new and coming actresses and actors would align themselves to such similar path if they can afford it.

      Your comment is a bit naive, but since spewing hate or negativity on blogs is the order of the day…Yaay, you make sense!.

    • Dee-USA

      January 16, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      So her father being a senator got her the entry into Hollywood? Or was it her ability to speak spanish as a Mexican born African girl? Yes she attended an Ivy-league school, but are you saying these A-list actresses with the LV, Chanel, Birkin and extravagant purchases couldn’t have invested in getting that education as well? So, tell me exactly how any of these factors got her to where she is.

      Chiwetel Ejiofor got his Hollywood start as a 19-year-old in the movie Amistad. Prior to that, he was a well-known stage actor in the UK. I suppose his parents connection was influential as well? Perhaps it’s your naivety at play here. Some people, privileged or not, just put in the work. Undermining their efforts because of their privileged background is just as naive.

    • guest

      January 16, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      Lupita is an excellent actress and she deserves all the accolades coming her way. Some talents get discovered by sheer fate, most by hardwork only, but a good number is a combination of hardwork and taking calculated risks or decisions. Like you rightly mentioned Chiwetel worked hard for a longer time to get the same accolades thrown Lupita’s. Lupita used being privileged wisely, she could have gone to any school but she chose Yale and that’s because she is well-informed. Our seasoned actresses have had to work hard under the uncertainties in multiple bad government and economy, with much less information on how to attain international recognition for their craft. The only way they know now is to say “I am a star in Africa”. Reason why my hope for a Nigerian Lupita is in the up and coming actors.

      It seems the whole essence of your response was to use the word “Naive”, so I kill it now for world peace. And bin the excess emotions as well, it’s just a comment on a blog.

    • Dee-USA

      January 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Please understand one thing: Some people get into Ivy-league schools on merit (full scholarship, high test scores,,) others get in by family name or connections, yet others get in with a combination of fairly decent scores and having the money to pay for a full ride. Don’t assume everyone at Yale or Princeton is some kinda wiz. My point is, if Omotola or Genevieve for example, wanted to get a degree or take a course at an Ivy-league school, they could because of their popularity as huge stars in Africa. They may not attend on scholarships, but trust me, they can. Now if they cut back on the designer duds and put that money into getting into one of these schools, they can get the education as well. But it isn’t about that alone. Tons of drama students have come out of Ivy-league programs and not been able to capitalize on it. At the same time, Omotola, by virtue of being named one of Time’s Top 100 people, got her chance to mix and mingle with the elite of the Hollywood and entertainment scene. Why hasn’t that earned her a role in a major movie?

      I’m not sure what emotions you are talking about, I’m just stating the obvious. You say she relied on her privileged background to get into the industry like you know it as a fact, and I say you can’t call it when you aren’t certain. Naivety aside, give props to her and let it end there. This Nigerian mentality (which is probably based on the fact that many Nigerians rely on it) that everyone uses connections to succeed is presumptuous and flawed. So until you have her on record talking about how her father’s connection got her in, I think you should stick to preaching world peace.

      Here’s another example of someone who got into the industry with little to no prior acting background: Dayo Okeniyi of the Hunger Games and Runner Runner movies. He didn’t go to an Ivy-league school. So pray tell, what connections did he use?

    • jummai

      January 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

      hmmn, was goinna say that too. I love Genny but damn you just cant compare both interviews, one shows depth while the other shows lack of depth.

  3. LoL

    January 16, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Bella Naija and all the naija media claiming this guy as Nigerian just irk me. He’s NEVER admitted that he’s Nigerian for once. He says he’s British so why do u keep attaching the British-Nigerian tag to him. Sheesh.

    • Laide

      January 16, 2014 at 5:26 am

      Reminds me of what my dad says about being successful, everyone claims to be related to you.

    • guest

      January 16, 2014 at 5:29 am

      Because it is what Nigerians do all the time…. lol!

    • Leah

      January 16, 2014 at 6:14 am

      Lol! It’s actually not unusual to add someone’ origin to their place of birth/home town, like ‘Italian American’ or ‘Irish American’ etc. I agree with you though, he does not sound like he wants to be called Nigerian at all.

    • Tobe

      January 16, 2014 at 7:33 am

      You are so Right, He does not see himself as Nigerian, Whenever he is asked where he is from, He always says London, The guy dont want anything to do with Nigeria, So please Bella Naija and all other media, stop calling him a Nigerian because he does not see himself as a Nigerian. Na by force ?.

    • Dee-USA

      January 16, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Well, why should he admit he is something he’s not? He wasn’t born or raised in Nigeria. What he has done is talk openly about his Nigerian heritage (just like his fellow Brit David Oyelowo has done.) He got the scar on his forehead in a road accident that killed his father while they were in Nigeria. So it shows he at least visited the country as a young boy, though it could be a legit reason for keeping him from visiting Nigeria frequently. He played the role of a Nigerian doctor in exile in the UK (Dirty Pretty Things) pretty darn well, complete with accent and all. So what else do we want him to do besides talking about his heritage. Why should he claim to be Nigerian when the country played no direct role in his upbringing or career success?

  4. Hi

    January 16, 2014 at 4:45 am

    *In Ellen DeGeneres voice* ‘C-H-I-W-E-T-E-L E-J-I-O-F-O-R-R’ Congratulations to 12 years A slave production. 🙂

  5. dram

    January 16, 2014 at 5:15 am

    This dude is coked up ….

  6. Iris

    January 16, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Diya and LoL thank you. You didn’t even need to know much to answer Genevieve’s question. Was the independence of many African countries reflected in the film (you acted in) or was it not? Simple. It’s like when they asked her about Nigeria’s issues on CNN and instead of giving a balanced, diplomatic answer she said “I don’t like to diss my country”. Meanwhile Chiwetel has confirmed that he’s from London so can we please stop? God knows if he became a mass murderer today I would call him British, so let’s give him a breather and accord him his proper nationality abeg.

  7. Ada

    January 16, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Abeg until Chiwetel starts answering John Mark, he will be an English man from Anambra. Ask him how he got that scar on his face, wasnt it from a car accident coming back from the East, the same one that unfortunately killed his dad, whom he looks exactly alike.

    Here on youtube, you see the family jamming naija style at the dad’s memorial event in the UK. Him and his family are all wearing matching asoebi…so yes we will continue to claim him! It doesnt stop him from being British!

    Youtube link

    • Jade

      January 16, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Wow! How dis you find that video? I honestly think if he didn’t want to be identified with Nigeria at all we would have changed his name or adopted an acting name a long time ago.

    • Ebony

      January 16, 2014 at 11:21 am

      FBI tingz! People should calm the heck down the man was born in London where did you want him to say he comes from? He acknowledged his Nigerian heritage but he identifies as a London boy first it is what it is

    • Anon

      January 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Thank you so much. He doesn’t hide the Nigerian part about him. If he did, he could have even changed his name. His Dad’s death pained him so much and I think that’s the main reservation he has about Nigeria.

    • jummai

      January 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      U did a good job of digging out the burial party video.

    • Donald-Landon

      January 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      When those 2 terrorists in London of Nigeria descent were all over the media last year- It didn’t take 2 seconds for everyone to deny them and say they are British. I guess success has many fathers. If it was for a crime you guys wouldn’t be claiming him.

  8. Opeyemi

    January 16, 2014 at 8:08 am

    This guy is very much British. He gives that annoying response of “my parents are from Nigeria”. It’s ok, I too grew up here and lived here since likes forever but would still say I’m Nigerian but whatever. Identity is a personal thing.

  9. Bella

    January 16, 2014 at 8:41 am

    A man needs to know where is he coming from to know where he is going. the same roots where his ancestors are from are the ones opening the way to his success and future. Deny all you want , accept all you want, a man should know his roots. aint no shame in where you are from, its part of who you are and doesn’t affect your future one tad bit. Proudly Nija FOR LIFE

    • Bee

      January 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      He isn’t denying his roots, to do would be to deny his father whom I’m sure he cherishes and misses daily. But unlike his father, he due to circumstances beyond his control has had to dig is own roots in London, that is the culture he identifies with, the culture he was raised in and it was in England he learnt his craft and met the opportunities that made him. I’m sure like many Black Brits he was irked by that question.

  10. stella

    January 16, 2014 at 9:18 am


    • hmm

      January 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      Yo. Lol what the actual F***

  11. Great Portland Street

    January 16, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Ada I di too bad o. How u find the video lol. Na him sabi! Good for you that u are from London. Nonsense and ingredients lol

  12. Musa

    January 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Why wont the lady ask him “Are you going to a Hotel”? When himself (Chiwetel) can’t even pronounce his name properly. Where are you from? He goes- I’m from London. Like seriously! Rubbish!!!

  13. Musa

    January 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Nna Chiwetel, you dey f*** up wella. I know you reach your village, so stop all that ascent and speak like a Nigerian. My cousins who have lived in England for more than 30years, still speak with Nigerian ascent. Even their Children.
    Are you going to a Hotel??? LOL

    • Anon

      January 16, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Lived in England for more than 30 years is totally different from being born and bred in England.

    • Thatgidigirl

      January 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      If your cousins have lived in england for 30 yrs and speak very much like Nigerians, they prolly communicate with only Nigerians day in day out. Puhleeeeaaaze! its not forming, when you live in a foreign land, it tweaks your accent a bit….you have to tweak your accent a bit to be understood as well.

  14. Suki

    January 16, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Genny’s interview yesterday got me thinking, boy I know dis chick got pregnant during high school, but she did go back to school right? I was so disappointed. The CNN one was equally cringe. It didn’t even require the reading of no book. Anyways still our best dressed actress by a mile.

    • Hope

      January 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Lmao!! Waiting for that clown “iLoveGenevieve” to come tell us “oh, she is still better than omotola” even though it has nothing to do with her hahaha..

    • Iris

      January 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      LMBAO. You are wicked. But I’m taking this thing personal. She wants to step into the industry outside Africa but how about putting in the work? Even if she didn’t finish school it doesn’t matter. I remember that in school, Nigerian history in social studies seemed to talk about independence and then mysteriously skip over into the nineties so many of us didn’t learn about it from school. I can understand that there are still many issues regarding what really happened during the war and people’s feelings (plus fear of military dictatorship era). Maybe with time we will have some kind of truth and reconciliation and be finally able to heal and have it in the school curriculum. However if you say you are an actress please try to perfect your craft with a little research, even if you don’t like to read. Some acclaimed actors and actresses go as far as shadowing people and adopting mannerisms to immerse themselves totally in a role, and you couldn’t even be bothered to learn about the era in which the movie you acted in was set?! And Nigerians were clamouring for her to be Olanna… I won’t be surprised if Thandie Newton knows more than she does about the war now.

    • Bamzi

      January 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      She really IS still BETTER than omotola. Always was, always will be! And you must deal

  15. Asup

    January 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

    LOL, why are you guys so upset? When those 2 Terrorists in London were all over the news last year, the British Media tagged them as Nigerian-British abi British-Nigerian. Nigerians all over the world got upset, that they were born and bred in the UK and have never set foot in Nigeria so they are British.
    Chiwetel was also born and bred in the UK, but as he is a fine and successful brotha you guys are now claiming him! 🙂
    Abeg make ona free am.

    The same thing the English do with Andy Murray. When he plays well he is British, when he doesn’t play well he is Scottish. But of course since he won Wimbledon he has been all British! lol

    • B

      January 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

      LOL so true!

    • Chichi

      February 26, 2014 at 4:59 am

      Scotland is part of Britain so yes he is British

  16. linda

    January 16, 2014 at 11:53 am

    and he said he is from LONDON, na wa ooo………

  17. esstillo

    January 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    That u re born and bred in London does not make u a British man. If your parents are from Kwara state for example and u are born and have lived almost all your life in Enugu, will you now say that you are an Igbo person? be proud of who u are and where you come from… shikina.

    • Chic

      January 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      I beg to differ he is British by citizenship/birth and Nigerian by parentage what he is not is English but British he definitely is. @Guest what does Lupita’s being born in Mexico have to do with her acting abilities she only lived there for a year before moving back at 16 to learn Spanish. Her Yale education was a full scholarship.

    • Chic

      January 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Same way a full blooded white English British person can be born in Enugu and hold a Nigerian passport. So he will be Nigerian but can never be Igbo because his parents are not hope that makes sense. Nigerian by birth and English by parentage.

  18. fashionandstylepolice

    January 16, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    He is sooo cute.

  19. Bee

    January 16, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Chew it well…

  20. Dee-USA

    January 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Hugo Weaving (Mr Smith from the Matrix films) is a white British actor who was born in Nigeria. At UCH in Ibadan to be exact. Why don’t you all make noise about him being Nigerian or not claiming Nigerian citizenship? Is it cos he’s white? Or he’s just not in the spotlight at the moment? Call Chiwetel a Nigerian, or don’t, but no one should diss him for saying he is a Brit. If the country was representing its citizens the way it should, maybe he would’ve felt a thing of pride to claim us and attempt to foster a relationship with the country.

    I remember hearing a story about Hakeem Olajuwon returning to Nigeria, shortly after he became an NBA superstar, with balls and equipment to set up a basketball training facility to promote the sport in Nigeria. Most of the balls and equipment were stolen at the port. Today he is celebrated as one of the most prolific players in the game, credited as a key factor in the Dream Team 2 (U.S. 1996 gold-winning Olympic team) successful Olympic run, and has a daughter playing basketball as well. No one calls her a Nigerian. She is an American of Nigerian descent. Olajuwon talks more about being a devout Muslim than he does of being a Nigerian. If it wasn’t for how odd his last name is, I doubt anyone would even look up where he’s from.

  21. NNENNE

    January 17, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Nigerians are claiming Chiwetel Ejiofor but if he had committed a crime, everyone would say he is British.

  22. navida

    January 17, 2014 at 5:02 am

    No be small genevive take note how do they even spell her name again( am young my parents didn’t tell me). I thought she used to leave in the village too abi she went to one of those schools in Imo state for sec. school or uni.

  23. Gee

    January 17, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Please let me as this question – If both of your parents are from Nigeria – where are you from ( no matter where you were born)? What is all this drama about where he is from? Claiming him or not claiming him, in my opinion, he is Nigerian who just happened to be born and raised in the UK! Abi?? Please somebody tell me what I am missing here?

  24. labelle

    January 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    This Chiwetel name…….i’ll bet his full name is Chiwetelu. he’s cool though

  25. Mehkism

    February 19, 2014 at 11:42 am


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