Cillian Murphy and Ayo Edebiri with FIJI Water at The 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards on January 14, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Behind them is a big Irish Flag.

Ayo Edebiri Continues To Make Ireland Proud as Its Unofficial Princess

One could say Irish representation in media right now is very male dominated, as actors like Barry Keoghan (Saltburn), Cillian Murhpy (Oppenheimer), and Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers) lead awards and the box office. However that would discount Ayo Edebiri, a.k.a. Ay O’edebiri, The People’s Princess.

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Right now, Edebiri is sweeping every awards show she’s attending. While she had a great year in 2023Bottoms, TMNT: Mutant Mayhem, Theater Camp, Big Mouth, and Abbott Elementary—this praise and critical acclaim is coming from Edebiri’s role as Sydney in FX’s The Bear. First, she nabbed a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy. Then, within two weeks, earned the Critics Choice Awards and The Emmy equivalent at those respective shows. These wins have come with a shoutout to her and Murphy as wins for Ireland.

Following her Critics Choice win, Edebiri dedicated the role to her family abroad. Exasperated, Edebiri called out “everyone in Boston, Barbados, Nigeria, Ireland … in many ways.” Then, she earned her Emmy and once again called out to her people. In celebration of this win and the renewed interest in this part of Edebiri’s heritage, Film in Dublin even composed a retrospective list of her roles across Irish cinema history.

Is Edebiri Irish though?

Colin Farrell as Pádraic hanging out with Jenny the Donkey in the Banshees of Inisherin
(Searchlight Pictures)

Many have taken to Blue Ivy’s internet to claim that Edebiri is not actually Irish. There are a lot of Black Irish people and probably even more with Irish heritage due to the legacy of slavery and disenfranchisement for both groups including in the U.S. However, she’s in neither of these categories, as far as we know. Technically, Edebiri was born in Boston to a (non-Irish) Nigerian father and Barbadian mother. Even with Massachusetts having a sizable population of Irish-descended people (over 10%), that’s not the nation itself.

So where did this idea of Edebiri being Irish come from?

Shoutout to my people.

Shoutout to Derry.

Shoutout to Cork.

Shoutout to Killarney.

Shoutout to Dublin.

Ayo Edebiri to Entertainment Tonight

The origin comes from a 2023 Letterboxd interview of Edebiri at SXSW while promoting Bottoms. She jokingly claimed that she played Jenny the Donkey from Martin Faranan McDonagh’s 2022 film The Banshees of Inisherin. Not only was that film an Irish story, but its star, Colin Farrell is probably one of the most recognizable Irish actors working in film and TV today. Edebiri didn’t say she was Irish in the interview, but she did don an accent for it.

Later, when the SAG-AFTRA strikes were temporarily paused, she posted a TikTok of behind-the-scenes images from Bottoms. Here, Edebiri claimed the lineage: “This has been in my drafts for over a year now lol..bottoms is out rn in the UK & my home nation of Ireland….Nov 30 Australia & NZ.” I love this running joke and, really, any time there’s discussions of Black and Irish solidarity in serious and unserious ways. Next, we need this gag to spiral into Edebiri in a movie with Murphy or even (my favorite Irish actress) the talented Ruth Negga.

Ruth Negga raising her eyebrows in Preacher.

(via TikTok, featured image: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for FIJI Water and edited by Alyssa Shotwell)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.