Well-Earned Honors For Atlanta Native Joaquina Kalukango

An inspiring achievement was achieved by Atlanta native Joaquina Kalukango: she was AP Breakthrough Entertainer of the Year. As reported by www.wabe.org, Kalukango won a Tony Award for best lead actress in a musical, establishing her as a Broadway star. Additionally, and on a more personal level, the award “cemented Kalukango’s belief that she could actually do musicals.”

Kalukango effused: “It was truly a powerful moment, especially for me, because I had such a fear of doing musicals for a very long time. I was an actor at heart,” she says. “I think it was a great moment in my trajectory of owning a new side of myself that I wasn’t that comfortable with sharing for a while.”

As reported in the above-linked article, Kalukango delivered a “show-stopping performance in “Paradise Square.” Her “heart-felt searing second act song ‘Let It Burn. consistently drew standing ovations triumphantly during the 2021-2022 season.”

Kalukango’s performances, described as “astonishing,” made her one of AP’s Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year alongside Stephanie Hsu, Sadie Sink, Tenoch Huerta, and Iman Vellani.

Some background has been provided describing Kalukango’s past few years of performing. She earned a 2020 Tony nomination as lead actress in a play for her work in the harrowing “Slave Play,” which play was described as “a ground-breaking, bracing work that mixed race, sex, taboo desires and class.”

Not limited to acting and singing on stage, Kalukango has established renown in films, such a playing the character Betty X opposite Kingsley Ben-Adir in Regina King’s directorial debut, “One Night in Miami.” She also had a recurring role on the HBO series “Lovecraft Country” and appeared in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series “When They See Us.”

Kalukango expressed an intellectual assessment of her work and vision. “I always felt like I wanted more than anything to be connected to work that kind of shifts the paradigm, that makes people think, that gets people to talk in their communities, that asks questions.”

Kalukango grew up singing Shania Twain and Whitney Houston. “I wanted to be a singer, but didn’t know that there was an actual path towards that,” she divulged. She has attained extraordinary prominence since her youth growing up in East Point, Georgia.

D & B Staff

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