2023’s breakout star was easily Ayo Edebiri, who won an Emmy at the 75th Emmy Awards in January 2024 for her role in The Bear. But the comedic actor has been on the rise since she jumped into her writing career with a dramatic writing major at NYU. During her Emmys speech, Ayo thanked her parents, who were present at the ceremony.
As Ayo takes her rightful place in the spotlight, fans can’t help but wonder about her unique upbringing. People want to know about her ethnicity and her parents, and luckily, we’re here to dish it all out.
Ayo Edebiri’s parents are immigrants, making Ayo’s ethnicity Nigerian Yoruba and Barbadian.
Although Ayo grew up in Boston, both of her parents are immigrants. Her mother immigrated to the States from Barbados, while her father immigrated from Nigeria. (Ayo told the The New Yorker in 2023 that she prefers not to mention her parents' names because of a prior harassment incident.) Growing up, Ayo and her family attended Pentecostal church two times per week. Her mom is very religious, but her dad isn’t.
“I was, like, ‘You’re going to Hell, bro,’” Ayo teased to The New Yorker. Even still, Ayo’s religious upbringing caused her to have nightmares about the Rapture and worry that when her mom wasn’t in her bed, it’s because she was sent to Heaven while Ayo and her dad were left behind.
“I grew up very Pentecostal,” she noted in a 2019 Forbes interview. “I think there's some sort of puritanical self-flagellation that I am very good at doing and probably will continue to be good at for the rest of my life.”
Religion aside, Ayo had a good relationship with her parents, who have always been supportive. “My parents are very practical people and they told me, ‘If this comedy thing is an actual career and a job that you want, then you have to treat it like that,'” she told Forbes. They were initially supportive of her studying teaching, but when she decided to change her major, they were still on her side, as long as she took it seriously.
She told Gold Derby in 2023, “My dad loves TV and movies, but there’s definitely an element of, ‘What did you do for a long time?’ And now it’s very comforting that they know what I do. They’re like, ‘Just to confirm, you won’t be moving back? You’re done? You’re good?'” Now that she’s won an Emmy, it’s safe to say she probably won’t be moving into their basement any time soon.
Ayo will probably still want to go home a bunch though, considering her mom’s cooking. She told The Hollywood Reporter in 2022 that her mom is “a really, really incredible cook.” Perhaps Ayo’s brought some of her mom’s cooking chops into her role in The Bear!
Adorably, Ayo's parents accompanied her to the 75th Emmy Awards to show their support. However, Ayo admitted in her acceptance speech that she wasn't sitting with them. "This is a show about found family and real family, and my parents are here tonight," Ayo said in her speech. "I'm making them sit kind of far away from me because I'm a bad kid. But I love you so much. Thank you so much for loving me and letting me feel beautiful and Black and proud of all of that. I just love you so much."