David Oyelowo was born to Yoruba parents in Oxford, England. He, however, spent his formative years in London before moving to Lagos He attended a boarding school in Lagos before they moved to Islington when he was 14.
Upon graduation, he enrolled at the City and Islington College to study theatre. He moved to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) where he took up acting classes until his graduation in 1998. During this time, he also trained at the National Youth Theatre.
In 1999, his stage career started when he was offered a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He came into limelight after his stage performance as King Henry VI in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2001 productions.
This made him the first black actor to play an English king in a Shakespeare production. His performance later earned him the 2001 Ian Charleson Awards for best performance by an actor under 30 in a classical play.
In 2002, he took up the role of MI5 officer Danny Hunter in the popular British drama series Spooks. Since then, he has acted on stage and on screen.
In 2007, he played the role of Olaudah Equiano in a radio play with his wife, Jessica Oyelowo as Mrs Equiano. AudioFile magazine once described him “as a single musician playing all the instruments in a symphony.”
In 2014, Oyelowo established his company Yoruba Saxon Productions.
The 42-year-old won the admiration of Ava DuVernay and played Martin Luther King Jr, in Selma, a role he believes was given to him by God. Since then, he has won several awards and acted in notable films including Star Wars Rebel, A Wrinkle in Time, Gringo and The Good Wife.