Akyiaa Wilson was born in Brooklyn, New York to proud Tobagonian parents. Her father did odd jobs while her mother worked as a typist at a bank. The youngest of three girls, she was raised in historic Flatbush among Victorian style homes and sprawling pre-war apartment bulidings. An old West Indian stronghold of Brooklyn, she was as like to run into a Roti shop on her way to school as a she was a McDonalds. Due to a glitch in the New York City Public School zoning system, she was bussed to elementary school nearly 30 mins away in Brooklyn; where her classmates came from primarily Jewish, Italian, and Russian immigrant homes. These dichotomies of old and new, familiar and unfamiliar continue to feed her curiosity about people and the world…
Lover of Language
Exposed to the theater at a young age, she performed in numerous plays and musicals throughout elementary and junior high schools. Akyiaa also studied gymnastics, tap, ballet, jazz, and pointe— performing in many dance recitals. When it came time for HS, her first choice was an arts-focused school with a comprehensive theater program that included studies in acting, set building, costuming, lights and sound. With big musicals, plays, director’s workshops and more, there were many opportunities to perform. While in HS, she was exposed to her first Shakespeare play in English class— Romeo and Juliet. While many struggled with the meaning of the words and the story, for Akyiaa Shakespeare “always made sense to me. It was if I could feel the words” and thus her love affair with language was born…
Too shy to audition for any of the bigger productions in high school, Akyiaa instead joined Brooklyn’s storied SING competition. Since the entire production is completely created by the students, this was where Akyiaa got her first taste of the agony and the ecstasy of creating your own work. The passion for it would never leave her. Throughout HS she performed in many more musicals—as well as Fences, with which she got to tangle with another of the theater’s giants of language, August Wilson.
In 2014, she had the amazing fortune to be cast in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar at BAM, which was “humbling, an incredible learning experience and a dream come true” for the actress. 2016 marked her first foray into print and commercial work when she shot a spot for international phone service provider Digigel and a popular print for the FDA.