Young, successful, (tall) and Ivy league educated–Blackish writer, Damilare Sonoiki, is seemingly every immigrant parents’ dream child. However, Damilare took what may have seemed to some to be an uncharacteristic leap of faith when leaving a more predictable job on Wall Street for the bright lights of Hollywood. This leap paid off with Damilare becoming a writer on the hit ABC sitcom, Blackish and then using his talents to bring forth a story that many of us can relate to with his upcoming, African Booty Scratcher show.
Sitting down in his Beverly Hills apartment–the Houston, Texas native took some moments (after an unfortunate loss by the Rockets) to speak with me about his journey to adding his voice to Hollywood’s changing narrative.
You’re originally from Houston, can you describe how things were for you growing up out there?
It was good, it was fun
And what part of Houston are you from?
Southwest Houston, Alief
So did you have an idea of what you wanted to do when you were coming up?
No, not really. I didn’t have much of an idea. I didn’t have anything specific.
When did you first start falling into writing?
I guess in school I was always good at writing but I wrote for this magazine on campus in college (the Havard Lampoon) that a lot of people who used to write for it ended up writing for tv.
You were initially on Wall Street, right?
Yeah, I worked there for a couple years.
How was the transition from doing that type of work to working in Hollywood?
It was good! I had an agent when I was in college so I had an agent the whole time when I was in New York working on Wall Street.
Were your parents supportive of you switching careers?
Have they seen the trailer of the show African Booty Scratcher?
Was there anything in particular that really stood out to them, or did they just like it in general?
The show resonates with a lot of people and feels super relatable for people who came up in African households; how much of the show was autobiographical?
Did anyone call you an African booty scratcher when growing up?
How far along are you in the process of developing the show?
Since the trailer basically went viral is there anyone in particular that showed interest that you were surprised by?
Have any networks showed any interest?
So, are you guys working on switching around the cast?
You mentioned Wale earlier and I remember him saying that he wanted to work with the show but something along the lines of him not really feeling the name?
Why do you think it’s taking so long for a story representing the African experience to get on TV?
Do you have an idea of when we’ll see the show on the screen, or is it still up in the air?
What do you see for the future of Africans screens represented in the media?
Is there anyone in particular that you’re paying attention to?
There’s too many Africans for us not to have our stories told on big platforms.
*Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity*