You read that title right. A Black man. Famous in South Korea. As farfetched as you may find it, it’s true! Ghana-born Sam Okyere has definitely made a name for himself in the Korean entertainment world, and I find it amazingly impressive. Especially considering the way Black people (Africans) are perceived in non-Black homogenous societies. Because of Western media, we can sometimes be labeled as “violent” “loud” and “dangerous”. But not Sam. Thanks to his command of the Korean language, charm, and acting skills, he’s become Korea’s go-to Black actor, even appearing in Vogue Korea!
Sam’s journey to K-stardom wasn’t his original plan. In an interview with Okayafrica he revealed that he first arrived as a Korean government scholar in 2009 with plans to become a computer engineer, but his adventurous spirit led to opportunities in entertainment:
But then again as a young guy I thought it wise to try and rack up as many experiences as I could, and this entertainment venture is one of them. Korean TV has opened doors to foreigners as a way to get them involved in Korean culture and to take what they can from the outside world. Besides, they have many awesome TV programs and the standards are very high. So once the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t resist.Loading...
After appearing on the show Hello Counselor, where he and a friend voiced concern over being racially discriminated against while also expressing their love for Korea, Sam’s career took off. Since then he’s been in a number of variety shows, including Korea’s SNL, and has acted in Korean Dramas- even a movie!
Now? Sam is starring in the groundbreaking Moorim School, a high school drama mixed with fantasy and martial arts.
It’s notable because the cast features Sam and other “foreign” non-Korean actors. After watching and loving Oh My Ghostess I’m excited to get into this show, and of course I’ll be writing a review!
As an African I salute Sam’s Korean breakthrough, and I know it will open the door for more opportunities to change the perception of Africans in South Korea. Or at the very least open the door for more actors of color!