Nija Okoro on The History of First Broadway’s African-American Leading Man in The Black Emperor of Broadway [Exclusive Interview]

Nija Okoro
Nija Okoro

Charles Gilpin was not a household name in the stage acting world today. Historically, Gilpin’s stage accomplishment marked him down as one of the best leading African-Americans to headline a show on Broadway a hundred years ago.

Actress Nija Okoro immediately jumped on the opportunity to be a part of the project. Okoro played Florence Gilpin, the wife of Charles Gilpin during his times on Broadway. The character was very supportive of his career until the husband took a dark turn towards alcoholism.

Here’s the synopsis of the film:

Based on a true story, Charles S. Gilpin was the first African-American dramatic star in a lead role in a stage play during a time where roles of color were previously played by white men in blackface. As Gilpin rose to fame and recognition, tensions were high between him and playwright Eugene O’Neill, which ultimately lead to parting ways, thought Gilpin’s name is etched in Broadway history forever.

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Shaun Parkes (Lost in Space, The Mummy Returns) stars as Charles Gilpin. The supporting cast included Okoro, John Hensley (How to Get Away With Murder), Liza Weil (Gilmore Girls), and Nick Moran (Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows). Arthur Egeli (Murder on the Cape) directed the film.

LRM Online had an exclusive interview with actress Nija Okoro on Zoom. We talked about blackface, Charles Gilpin, and the supporting role as Florence.

Okoro had a few notable television appearances in recent years, including Animal Kingdom, The Deuce, and Insecure as Nessa.

The Black Emperor of Broadway became available on VOD today and with DVD on October 6.

Watch the exclusive interview with Nija Okoro below and let us know what you think.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive, The Black Emperor of Broadway

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Gig Patta

Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.

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