Akosua Busia

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Akosua Busia
Born Akosua Gyamama Busia
(1966-12-30) December 30, 1966 (age 48)
Nationality Ghanaian
Occupation Actress, film director, songwriter, author
Years active 1979–present
Known for Nettie Harris – The Color Purple
Spouse(s) John Singleton (m. 1996–97) (1 child)

Akosua Gyamama Busia (born 30 December 1966[1][2]) is a Ghanaian actress, film director and songwriter who lives in the U.K.. Busia is best know for her role as Nettie Harris in the 1985 film The Color Purple alongside Whoopi Goldberg.

Family and early life[edit]

The daughter of Kofi Abrefa Busia, the ex-prime minister of the Republic of Ghana,[3] Akosua is the daughter of a prince of the royal family of Wenchi,[4] a subgroup of the Ashanti. Akosua is a princess of the royal family of Wenchi. Her sister Abena Busia is a poet and academic, an associate professor in English at Rutgers University.[5]

Akosua Busia grew up in Ghana, and began her acting career at the age of 16, attending London's Central School of Speech and Drama on scholarship.[6] Her first acting role was as Juliet in an otherwise white cast performing Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at Oxford University, where her siblings were studying.[6]


Busia's film roles include a notable performance as Bessie in a 1986 film adaptation of Richard Wright's Native Son (with Geraldine Page and Matt Dillon), as Nettie (opposite Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg) in Steven Spielberg's 1985 The Color Purple,[7] adapted from Alice Walker's novel of the same title, as Ruth in Badge of the Assassin (1985), as Jewel in John Singleton's Rosewood (1997),[8] and as Patience in Antoine Fuqua's Tears of the Sun (2003).[9] She has also appeared on television in the series ER.[4]

Busia is the author of The Seasons of Beento Blackbird: A Novel (Washington Square Press, 1997).[10] She was one of three co-writers for the screenplay adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel Beloved for the 1998 film version of the same name directed by Jonathan Demme.[11] In 2008 Busia directed a film about her father: The Prof. A Man Remembered. Life, Vision & Legacy of K.A. Busia.[12] Busia also co-wrote the song "Moon Blue" with Stevie Wonder for his album A Time 2 Love.[13]

Personal life[edit]

On 12 October 1996, Akosua Busia married the American film director John Singleton, with whom she has a daughter Hadar Busia-Singleton born (3 April 1997); the couple divorced on 15 June 1997.[4][11]


  1. ^ Who's Who Among African Americans 22, Gale Research, 2008, p. 179, ISBN 978-1-4144-3400-1 
  2. ^ McCann, Bob (2010), Encyclopedia of African American Actresses In Film And Television, McFarland, p. 62, ISBN 978-0-7864-3790-0 
  3. ^ Takyi, Charles (22 December 2009). "Busia's family endorses new secretary for NPP". The Ghanaian Chronicle. 
  4. ^ a b c Kiesewetter, John (7 April 1999). "'ER' actress dreams about having it all". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 
  5. ^ "Busia, Abena - Professor", Department of Women's and Gender Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
  6. ^ a b Gail Smith, "Just don't say 'no'", Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 4 December 1998.
  7. ^ Rosenberg, Donald (19 June 1990). "Akosua Busia's Dual Performance In 'Color Purple' Still Astonishing". Rocky Mountain News. 
  8. ^ Levin, Jordan (30 June 1996). "On Location: Dredging in the Deep South". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ Fuchs, Cynthia (8 March 2003), "Tears of the Sun: Review", PopMatters 
  10. ^ Rush, George (17 April 1997). "D'Angelo joins Al's bev-y of beauties". New York Daily News. 
  11. ^ a b Fierman, Daniel (16 October 1998). "Brawl Over 'Beloved'". Entertainment Weekly. 
  12. ^ "The Prof: A Man Remembered".
  13. ^ "The wonder of it all". The Detroit News. 8 October 2005. 

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