For most ordinary people having a successful career includes going to college and getting a conventional 9 to 5 job. And anything out of the ordinary baffles people. However, as time passed by the idea of success has changed drastically. One industry that always seems to challenge what success really means is the entertainment industry. Recognition from the critics, their peers and the most important, the audience is something every artist working within the industry thrives to achieve.
In recent years one actor has been able to mesmerize everyone with his performance. That someone is British actor Daniel Kaluuya. While the whole world is praising his work, his own mother Damalie Namusoke had quite a hard time understanding why her son was being celebrated as a success story in Hollywood. So what more do we know about Damalie Namusoke?
Damalie is a Single Mother to Daniel and His sister
Daniel Kaluuya’s parents Damalie Namusoke and Stephen Kaluuya were from Uganda. However, in 1988, his mother Damalie moved to London with her elder daughter in order to give birth to Daniel. After Daniel was born, he lived in a hostel for two years and then moved to a home in Camden, North London that his mother had arranged.
According to Daniel, Damalie was on benefits for a long time. The family had remained estranged from Daniel’s father and he was revealed to have no connection with his side of the family until he was 15. It was Damalie who took it upon herself to raise two children all by herself.
Namusoke Worked at a Special Needs School in Camden
In one of his 2017 interviews, Daniel Kaluuya revealed the difficulties his mother faced while raising him and his sister. Damalie relied on welfare funds for quite a while before landing any stable jobs. He also revealed Damalie was working at a special needs school in Camden where he and his sister grew up.
Damalie Wanted her kids to Stay Away from the Streets
If one word could be used to describe Damalie, that would be ‘strict’. Even her own son has repeatedly said that his mother was very strict in terms of his schooling and overall growth as a young man since the area they were residing in had a reputation of being the drug market of Europe.
Her concerns about her son led her to suggest he attend a class at Anna Scher Theater. That suggestion kind of paid off, since it kept him out of the streets however it also burned a desire in her son that even she had a hard time getting used to.
She Had a Desire that her son Daniel Would Make it to the University
Damalie had always wished for his son Daniel to study hard and be a doctor. However, as we know it did not work out as she had hoped for. In his interview with Graham Norton, Daniel revealed that during the press night of his first-ever lead role in a play at the Royal Court Theater in London, he took his mother with him. He said:
“I was like ‘Oh mom, this is the casting director, the woman who is basically the reason why I got in the room’ and she was like ‘When are you giving him another job’. I’m thinking this woman is going to ruin my career.”
“She went on saying ‘when are you giving him another job. He’s not going to uni. He’s not going to uni. He’s ruining his life. You have to give him another job. You’ve made him not go to uni. When…’”
Namusoke Does not Understand the Success that Comes with Daniel’s Job
With the release of the 2017 horror film Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya was catapulted to mainstream success. However, his mother Damalie had reservations about his acting career. Damalie wanted her son to have a stable job where the earnings are regular, however, being an actor necessarily does not mean you will get paid consistently.
In his interview with Jimmy Kimmel, upon being asked if his mother was excited about his success as an actor, he clearly declined it. He explained:
“There’s no stable income. She doesn’t understand the term freelance. She doesn’t get it. She’s like ‘What is… what are you doing?’”.
“When I got nominated for an oscar, I face-timed her. I was like ‘Yo mum, got nominated for an oscar’ and she was like ‘Congratulations. Does this mean you’ll get a job?’”
She also asked if he would get paid for getting nominated and Daniel had to explain what prestige and success meant in his line of work.
Damalie’s Reactions at the Oscars Created Twitter buzz
For his portrayal of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in the 2021 movie ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, Daniel Kaluuya was awarded The Academy for the best-supporting actor, becoming the first British actor with African heritage to win the award. However, it was his winning speech and the reaction of his mother to it that created a lot of Twitter buzz.
During his speech, he went on to thank his mom and dad for being intimate. He said:
“We gotta celebrate life. We’re breathing, we’re walking. It’s incredible. Like my mum, my dad, they had s** – it’s amazing! I’m here. I’m so happy to be alive and I’m gonna celebrate that tonight.”
Following the blast that her son put her through on live TV, Damalie along with Daniel’s older sister was visibly seen to be embarrassed and Damalie even mouthed ‘What’s he going on about?’
Damalie’s reaction however became a meme-worthy moment that Daniel Kaluuya will probably never be forgotten.
The Kaluuya children are always thankful to their mother, Damalie who gave everything she could to her children and their future. And these small glimpses of their bond with each other makes us understand how much love and care exist between them.