By Ahmad Muto
British born actor of Ugandan descent, Daniel Kaluuya has made it to TIME’s 100 most influential people of 2021 list, in the artists’ category. This comes just days after the Emmys where he was a nominee in the Outstanding guest actor in a comedy series category that went to comedian, Dave Chapelle.
According to Ryan Coogler, a director and Oscar-nominated producer, who did Kaluuya’s write up for TIME, he is a unique experience who watches with intense eyes and “listens seemingly without fear or judgement, only attention and empathy.” He says admirers of Kaluuya’s craftsmanship often note his smile and how he breathes life into language. But he thinks his “performances register on such a deep level because he is a watcher, a listener, an empathetic soul committed to relating to other human beings, no matter who they are or where they are from.”
Kaluuya acted as Fred Hampton, a Black Panther party leader in the 2021 film, Judas and the Black Messiah. Hampton was killed in Chicago by the police in 1969.
According to Coogler, the director Shaka King picked Kaluuya not because of his celebrity, but empathy.
It is important to note that just this year alone, Kaluuya has so far won four major awards for his role in the King directed movie: Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting actor, An Oscar for Best Supporting actor, Screen Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a male actor in a supporting role and a Golden Globe Award for Best supporting actor.
Kaluuya was born in London in 1989 to Ugandan parents – Damali Namusoke and Stephen Kaluuya.
Others on the TIME 100 list are Nigerian economist and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-lweala and legendary Beninese singer, songwriter and actress, Angelique Kidjo.