The Blessed Life of Kofi Siriboe Anchored on Gratitude

Kofi Siriboe is known for his powerful and vulnerable presence, he is also gentle and mindful, traits that are rare to find in such young talent. He enters the room with a sense of owning his power both on and off of the camera. Siriboe is a model-turned-actor and one of the many emerging stars lighting up the set of “Queen Sugar,” where he plays Ralph Angel Bordelon, a complex and deep character.

Of Ghanaian descent, the 27-year-old actor represents a growing influx of diverse characters in media. Intentional work from industry leaders, such as executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, who are creating more opportunities for greater representation in TV and film, with authentic stories of people of color from all backgrounds.

The beauty of Siriboe’s role is in his passion and heart, which mirrors Ralph Angel’s struggles. He shares, “I think he really strives for that higher self. It’s something that I hope we all do. I definitely do my best to strive for my highest self in my day-to-day. I really respect that about Ralph Angel, that no matter what happens, he’s always still prepared to accept the challenge and move forward. It’s admirable. He is definitely strong-willed and resilient.” In the series, Ralph Angel was formerly incarcerated and is working hard to defy his past while being a father. His complex and deep character sheds light on an often underrepresented population of men and women who are trying to redeem themselves.

The Los Angeles native shares his spiritual and grounded philosophy, from speaking his truth to working with “‘Queen Sugar’s’ empowering women,” Siriboe holds nothing back.

MAINTAINING A SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE

Kofi Siriboe: It’s like a marathon, and the cool thing about that is it’s a journey. I can’t really tell where I’m at on this marathon; it’s kind of like a cycle, sometimes I find myself at the beginning and sometimes I feel like I’m at the end of a new cycle. The only word comes to mind is grateful. It is a blessing to be able to do this––to connect with people via my art and tell stories.

I feel like it’s about staying anchored, knowing what keeps you anchored to where your roots live. It’s definitely a daily practice. Some days you get caught up in the whirlwind. You can get caught up in what’s going on or what’s not going on. It’s easy to get in your head and let those thoughts consume you.

So I just try my best to stay anchored in real things, to keep my feet on the ground, stay optimistic and just look at the blessings.

I look at the journey and take a moment to see how it started and how it’s going and how far God has taken me—taken us, really. You can’t help but to smile and just be patient.

UPLIFTING SCRIPTURE IN CHALLENGING TIMES

Kofi Siriboe: Proverbs chapter 3, will forever and always be my go to. For me, it just sums up everything in such a simple way.

FROM MODEL TO ACTOR

Kofi Siriboe: Transitioning from model to actor was about knowing that I’m more aligned with the full scope of storytelling. That was what really drove me to take acting more seriously. 

I started doing commercials when I was young. I feel like the actor was always there. As I got older, at 18, I definitely started taking it more seriously. The transition was smooth. I never overly identify with being a model. I guess I always took a film approach to being a model. I really enjoyed traveling and people, it wasn’t too different of an atmosphere.  

BEING OF INFLUENCE

Kofi Siriboe: Being influential to me on a personal level really means being accountable, and more so just for yourself. 

On a day to day really making sure you represent that in your personal life for yourself and taking care of yourself with a routine that’s healthy. And again have your anchors, find your ways to stay grounded and also be accountable for your narrative.

I feel like there’s a lot of misinformation in the world right now. There’s alot of information you can get lost in. It’s nice to be able to look at real people who are enduring the process and running the marathon while leaving gems behind [them] here in the process. It’s really about being accountable for your life. 

WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT 

Kofi Siriboe: I want to remind the people to be kind to yourself and get ready, because this is a  new season. There’s a lot of beautiful things about to happen in the world. I want everyone to be available for it––to be ready for it. To have open arms, an open heart and a lot of space.

LESSONS FROM RALPH ANGEL BORDELON

Kofi Siriboe: The word that comes to mind when I think about Ralph Angel is responsibility, for everything—for his family, self evolution and their family’s land. 

Ralph Angel wears his heart on his sleeve. He has tons of passion. He’s extremely ambitious, but he also has a lot of unpacking to do. He has a lot of work to do. When it comes to dealing with the life that he’s lived, it hasn’t all been pretty. 

Playing Ralph Angel was like a marathon, and I can’t really tell where I’m at. Sometimes I am found at the beginning, sometimes I feel that I’m at the end. The only word that comes to mind is grateful. It is a blessing to be able to do this and connect with people via my art and tell stories. 

THE BIGGER PICTURE  

Kofi Siriboe: I’m so grateful to be part of this show. You know, I feel like I’ve been a student of the process since I started this journey. I’ve been learning so much about myself in the process. I think Queen Sugar is such a great friend, you know. I feel like I’ve met so many different versions of myself. I am amazed when I meet someone in the streets and they talk to me about how the show impacts them.  

Gratitude and, again, accountability. I make sure that I’m always being as honest as I can and also giving myself the space to live my life and bring my truth back to the people. So yes, it’s really an honor.

THE IMPACT OF THE “AVA EFFECT” & OPRAH WINFREY

Kofi Siriboe: What I’ve learned from Ava is to be intentional. She knows what she wants to say, how she wants to say it and when she wants to say it. She has a story to tell––she knows what her focal point is and the people that need her. She really speaks to that audience and finds a way to elevate that space, while not just speaking to it where it’s at, but really expanding it. 

I am learning to be intentional with passion, with love and with heart. It’s definitely something I’ve picked up from her. 

The first time I met Oprah, I believe it was at the table read in 2015. Before I met her, I already had preconceived notions [of her]. 

She’s human. She’s warm. She felt like a relative. I think since day one, she’s always been very in tune with the fact that I’m younger. This is definitely a lot to process—it’s been a full journey. She’s always been there, a warm presence of inspiration and of insight and perspectives, like a fairy godmother.

Interview by Tricia Love Vargas
Photography: Moldilox || L.A. STYLE Magazine
Stylist: Jamar Hart & Tamira Wells || MUA: Ruth Medrano
Read Next: Dawn-Lyen Gardner Speaks Her Truth

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