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Shahadi Wright Joseph

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Shahadi Wright Joseph
Born (2005-04-29) April 29, 2005 (age 19)
  • Actress
  • singer
  • dancer
Years active2013–present

Shahadi Wright Joseph (born April 29, 2005)[1] is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She is best known for her starring role in Jordan Peele's horror film Us (2019), the voice for Young Nala in Jon Favreau's musical film The Lion King (2019),[1][2] and Holiday Anders in the podcast, "Six Minutes".

Early life[edit]

Joseph was born in Brooklyn, New York.[3] She has been dancing since the age of two.[4] She once auditioned for a school play in third grade using Lupita Nyong'o's Academy Award acceptance speech.[5]


Joseph's first major acting role came when she was cast as young Nala in the Broadway musical adaptation The Lion King, at nine years old.[4][6] Joseph appeared as Madison, an original cast member in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation School of Rock. In 2016, she appeared as Little Inez Stubbs in the NBC musical television special Hairspray Live!, which earned positive reviews.[1]

In 2018, she began starring in the podcast Six Minutes. She plays the lead, Holiday.[7]

In November 2017, it was announced Joseph would reprise her role as young Nala in the 2019 remake of The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau.[4] She chose to work on the film because she sees the character as a role model who inspires young girls.[8] Upon learning that Beyoncé would be voicing grown-up Nala, Joseph stated that she was motivated to work harder and consider how Beyoncé would approach the role.[8]

Also in 2019, Joseph starred in the supernatural horror film Us, which was directed by Jordan Peele. She read for the dual role of Zora and Umbrae three times before being offered the part.[9] The film earned critical acclaim and was a box office success.[10][11] Her performance earned her numerous award nominations, including for a Saturn Award and a Critics' Choice Movie Award.

Joseph had a starring role as Ruby Lee Emory in the Amazon Prime Video horror drama series Them. The series was released in April 2021, to generally positive reviews.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
2019 Us Zora Wilson / Umbrae see awards
2019 The Lion King Young Nala (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
2016 Hairspray Live! Little Inez Stubbs Television special
2021, 2024 Them Ruby Lee Emory 11 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Solo Awards for Shahadi Wright Joseph
Year Award Category Work Result Ref
Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor Us Nominated [13]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Youth Performance Nominated [14]
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress Nominated [15]
Breakthrough Performance - Female Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Young Actor/Actress Nominated [16]
Music City Film Critics Association Best Young Actress Nominated [17]
NAACP Image Awards Breakthrough Role - Motion Picture Nominated [18]
Online Film & Television Association Best Youth Performance Nominated [19]
Other Awards for Shahadi Wright Joseph
Year Award Category Work Result Ref
Hollywood Critics Association Next Generation of Hollywood Herself Won [20]


  1. ^ a b c "Shahadi Wright Joseph Talks 'Us' Film, Lion King Live Action". Vibe. 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  2. ^ Santi, Christina (2019-03-25). "'Us' Star Shahadi Wright Joseph on Representation & Black Girl Magic". EBONY. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  3. ^ Baila, Morgan (15 July 2019). "The Come-Up: Shahadi Wright Joseph Just Can't Wait To Be Queen". Refinery29. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet Shahadi Wright Joseph, the breakout horror warrior in Jordan Peele's 'Us'". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  5. ^ "'Us' Stars Shahadi Wright Joseph and Lupita Nyong'o Don't Scare Easily, Anymore". Interview Magazine. 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  6. ^ "Internet Broadway Database: The Lion King - Replacements". IBDB. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  7. ^ "Cast - Gen-Z Media". Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  8. ^ a b "What To Expect From The Characters In The Upcoming 'The Lion King' Adaptation - Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly/YouTube. April 25, 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Kelley, Sonaiya (22 March 2019). "'Us' kids Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex on playing doppelgangers for Jordan Peele". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  10. ^ "Us (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  11. ^ "Us (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  12. ^ "Them: Limited Series". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  13. ^ "45th Saturn Awards Nominations:'Avengers: Endgame' Leads with 14 Nods, 'Game of Thrones' Tops TV Category". 16 July 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  14. ^ "The 2019 WAFCA Awards". Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  15. ^ "20th Annual Black Reel Awards Nominees Announced". 11 December 2019. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  16. ^ "Critics' Choice Awards: 'The Irishman' Leads with 14 Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. 8 December 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Neglia, Matt (10 January 2020). "The 2019 Music City Film Critics Association (MCFCA) Winners". Next Best Picture. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  18. ^ "2020 NAACP Image Awards Nominations Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. 9 January 2020. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  19. ^ "24th Annual Film Awards". Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  20. ^ "'1917', 'Parasite', 'Booksmart' Top Hollywood Critics Association Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. 10 January 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.

External links[edit]