Uzunma is an actress, writer and comedian. While studying Statistics at Columbia University, Uzunma was exposed to performing arts. She began taking playwriting seriously upon graduation. She starred in most of the plays she wrote and took her shows on the road to Boston, New York and other cities. In 2015, Uzunma created her YouTube channel, Azoomah, to give people more access to her work. Covering current events, daily rants, life lessons and welcoming special guests, Uzunma’s channel showcases her many talents as a performer.
On January 27, the cStuation team sat down with Uzunma to learn more about her body of work, the struggles she’s faced as a black, female playwriter, and her big plans for her career in 2018.
1. Why is writing and performing your passion?
I honestly don’t know. I could have some deep answer, but I don’t. This is my passion because when I don’t do it, I feel dread and stress and worry and empty, and yes I’m dramatic and that’s why I write plays.
2. How do you feel about the state of creating today?
I feel like it’s beige. It’s ivory. It’s cream. I would like to say I’m adding my little tea spoon of chocolate to this whole milk situation, but we need a lot more that for this industry to reflect all the people who consume it.
3. Who/What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who are better and more interesting than me. I’m inspired by experiences that feel relatable and familiar. I really like to study the mundane and honor the mundane, and change the lens we see our lives through. Spruce it up, if you will.
4. What makes your line of work different from others?
I think about this a lot. Honestly, maybe nothing makes me different. Maybe I am the ctrl+c, ctrl+v version of every other creative that wants to have a platform. And that’s fine. I’m okay with that, because if I did it to be different, I would be miserable. If I’m different, I’m different because no one else is Uzunma Chioma Udeh. I own that. And being me is the one thing I bring to the table that no one else can.
5. What do you think a 40-year-old Uzunma will be doing?
Honestly, what will 28 year old Uzunma be doing? I guess still writing. That’s just something I can’t give up. Whether it takes me places or leaves me on my couch, the need to create will never leave me.
6. What advice would you give young writers/performers?
Bruh, am I no longer young? Honestly I would ask young people for their input. I think they have it way more figured out than I do. It’s startling. I don’t think I have any advice other than the internet is not real. It is, but also people are bold on the internet in a way that can’t be done in real life. So remember than when they say something shady.
7. What motivates you when the chips are down?
I’ve been going through an emotional rough patch as of late, and so I’ve been searching for this answer myself. But what I’ve found is that keeping myself busy and finding new opportunities helps me remember that there is value to what I do.
8. What are your proudest accomplishments?
There was this “African American Women in Cinema” web contest last year, that was based on audience vote, and everyone I know rallied around me, voted, shared and because of them, I actually won. It was a proud moment because I physically saw the support and sometimes you need that validation.
9. List some of your other hobbies
I play volleyball, and watch a lot of tv. I’m not sophisticated.
10. If you weren’t a writer and performer, what would you be doing?
Well currently, I work in fashion as my 9-5. So that. I’d be a full time fashion girl.
11. Anything coming up we should look out for?
I’m working on this project with my dad to try and capture the year leading up to my dad’s village retirement ceremony in Nigeria. So that’s going to be some cross continental fun. And I have this one woman show, “A Day in the Life: A Performance Piece of Performance Pieces”, that I had an amazing reading for last year, so I really want to fully stage that. If you know anyone…holla at ya girl.