LOS ANGELES (February 11, 2016) – British-Nigerian-American actress SOPE ALUKO ("Shaw-peh Ah-loo-koh") fights to protect her daughter in the powerful female human rights short film, JOY, making its television debut on HBO during Black History Month.
Aluko stars as Fimi, a Nigerian woman living in America who struggles to convince her traditionalist husband not to circumcise their ten-year-old daughter, Joy.
The highly provocative film comes from rising director Solomon Onita Jr. and premiered at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) presented by HBO last June. Since then, JOY has screened at numerous film festivals nationally and internationally, including the prestigious LA Shorts Festival, The Black Harvest Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival (FLIFF), Screen Actors Guild Shorts Showcase, and most recently won the ‘Student Short Film Award’ at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in Nigeria.
The subject is a personal one for Aluko, who during her early childhood years while living in her native Nigeria, knew of young women who had experienced the gruesome female genital mutilation (FGM) firsthand. Today, Aluko is an activist for Equality Now, which fights to eradicate female genital mutilation among Immigrants from sub-Saharan countries in the U.S.
Aluko is thrilled at the attention JOY is receiving, adding “Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released that 513,000 women and girls in the U.S. have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to FGM, which is more than three times higher than estimated. It is so shocking to me how this barbaric and cruel tradition has become widespread among African Immigrants in America, not just indigenously. We have to give a voice to these women whose rights are being brutally violated – it just has to stop. I hope this film encourages everyone to support the campaign to #EndFGM.”
Aluko recently gained fans with her recurring role as the tenacious ‘Agent Avery Stanwood’ in the final season of USA Network’s high-stakes drama, GRACELAND. Earlier this season, Aluko also appeared on ABC’s wildly-popular HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, the new CBS drama ZOO based on a James Patterson novel, the comedy laugher THE MINDY PROJECT airing on Hulu, and returned to the USA Network for an episode of SATISFACTION.
This talented actress has been building a solid resume and reputation in the industry for a few years now. Aluko’s film credits include: AMERICAN ULTRA, PITCH PERFECT 2, THE GOOD LIE and IDENTITY THIEF; and on the small screen: BURN NOTICE, ARMY WIVES, ZOO, SATISFACTION, RECKLESS, RAVENSWOOD, LAW & ORDER: SVU, PARKS AND RECREATION and numerous others.
Born in Nigeria, West Africa, Aluko is a multilingual, tri-citizen of the U.S., U.K. and Nigeria. With a father in the diplomatic service, her family moved often throughout her early years, living in France, Switzerland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, and Indonesia. Eventually settling in the U.K., Aluko cultivated her acting skills primarily on Shakespearean stage plays certified by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). She earned an Undergraduate Honors Degree in Manufacturing Engineering at Nottingham Trent University, and her Master’s Degree in Marketing & Product Management at Cranfield University. She had a successful corporate career in England and America for several years before returning to her acting career.
Sope Aluko is represented by Prestige Talent Agency (U.S.), The Narrow Road Company (U.K.) and Acuity Entertainment Management (U.S.).