Written and created by Abby Ajayi, the six-part series follows the exploits of the stylish, privileged, and super-successful Richards family.
When Stephen Richards (Hugh Quarshie) passes suddenly, the family’s world comes crashing down. As his business hangs in the balance, his different sets of children are about to collide as they vie for control.
The high-stakes drama stars an impressive cast led by Deborah Ayorinde, and Hugh Quarshie with supporting characters like Sarah Niles, Adeyinka Akinrinade, Ola Orebiyi, Nneka Okoy and Emmanuel Imani.
As lead of the unapologetically British-Nigerian show, Ayorinde delivers an outstanding performance, commanding attention every time she is on camera.
She plays Nina Richards, the estranged daughter caught in a complicated situation — having to continue the legacy of a man who abandoned her as a child. Imani portrays Simon Richards, the other half of the estranged siblings.
In an exclusive interview with Pulse Nigeria, the two actors share their reactions to the script, similarities to their characters, their thoughts on portraying the black culture in a positive light on TV and more:
The interview is edited for length and clarity.
On their first reaction to the script
Deborah Ayorinde (DA): For me, the first thing I noticed is how close to my own story that Nina’s story is. Being born in London, being Nigerian, moving to America, because of family drama and coming back. All those things are things I know so well. It’s just been amazing to play a character that’s so close to my story. I also noticed so many different types of black people are represented in this story which I’m very, very passionate about. Those are the first things that I realized and loved about the script.
Emmanuel Imani (EI): One of the major things I felt, as a black man in the UK, was looking at these people of colour at the forefront, the center of this story and its done in a way I’ve never seen anybody write for people based in the UK. Deborah, I think is maybe a tad more fortunate being in the states from time to time, they seem to have more content that’s quite diverse in the UK. I’m not sure if these projects aren’t being greenlit or what’s happening, but we just don’t seem to have as many stories like this. You know, a story about an immigrant Nigerian family that are thriving in this way, like millionaires, come on. A queer son and there’s no drama, the mother is supportive of who he is and his sister is supportive. It is really a beautiful representation I’ve never seen so I was like, ‘Yo, who do I have to marry beg borrow steal from to be in this show?’
On the best parts of their characters
DA: What I like best about Nina is that she handles business. She proves that being feminine is not the opposite of being strong. Oftentimes, people say, ‘Oh, she’s a woman, but she’s strong or whatever.’ And it’s like, no, they’re not antinomous, they can be one and the same and she really proves that. So I really love her. She is a leader. She just rises to the occasion and she looks amazing while doing it.
EI: One of the things I love the best about Simon is similar to what Deborah said actually. Simon does handle business and looks good while doing it. For me, I love that people of color can step into these spaces that we’re not expected to be in and not shy away. They’re taking up space. So, I love that Simon is not afraid to take up space.
On their least favourite things about their characters
DA: What I like least is that she’s not vulnerable. She really struggles with vulnerability. Without giving too much away, she really struggles in the love department and that’s something that I don’t really enjoy about her .
EI: He is not as sexy as Nina because Nina has the superpower of making threats sounds sexy. Simon needs to learn that.
Check out ‘Riches,’ currently streaming today, December 2 on Amazon Prime Video.