AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Immigrants and Coloradans with Nigerian heritage are excited for the new CBS comedy “Bob Hearts Abishola.” The show premiers Monday night and will highlight Nigerian culture and community to a national American audience.
“This is going to break away stereotypes, any point of views people may have had about the African family,” Jessica Compaore said. “This is going to show you what the African family is really like.”
A Colorado native, Compaore’s grandfather came to the U.S. from Nigeria. She learned later in life about her heritage to the African nation but has helped to showcase it in the Denver Metro Area since then. The new comedy has caught the attention of this community in Colorado. It tells the story of a businessman in Detroit falling for a nurse he encounters at a hospital, who is an immigrant from Nigeria.
“It’s about promoting where I am from, who I am, I am embrace where I am from,” Samuel Ogah said. “It’s a big deal, it’s showing our culture and greatness.”
Ogah is the CEO of Best Music Entertainment promoting events in Colorado not only for his Nigerian community but other African groups living in the state. He said the thousands of Nigerians who have come to the state are eager to be a part of the economy and build a family here.
“They’re all working toward how we can create a better Colorado,” he said. “We’re proud of where we come from and you can get to know more about us.”
Billy Gardell plays “Bob” and Folake Olowofoyeku stars as “Abishola” on the show. Both actors spoke to CBS4 ahead of the premiere and the significance of having a series on primetime television not only about immigrants but a family from Africa.
“It feels like a full circle moment and I’m glad I had the opportunity,” Olowofoyeku said.
Ogah said it will be a meaningful example of representation not just for those connected to one country but instead a way to unite those from all over one continent.
“That story really relates to all immigrants, not just Nigerians,” he said. “I think it’s going to give more Africans to be able to relate.”
He hopes his events throughout the year, including one for the celebration of Nigeria’s independence, can have a similar impact by inviting others to learn about their community. He works to create opportunities online and in person for various African immigrants to come together and connect. Not only social gatherings and a chance to celebrate their heritage but also to introduce their businesses and network.
“You can only know about me and my culture when you relate and talk to me,” he said.
Colorado has become home to many in the Nigerian community because of the comfortable weather and the opportunity for growth. Families keep moving here because they find a place for them to live a better life. Since 2013, they have come together for Nigerian Day, which will take place this year in Lowry Park on Saturday, Oct. 5 in Aurora.
“They have this energy, they have this richness, they have this this brightness to see what it means to be successful within themselves,” Compaore said. “They are folks just like you and me.”