MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Actor and singer Rotimi - know as Olurotimi Akinosho while a student at Columbia High School (CHS) - was inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Rotimi is the second inductee for 2018. The Grammy-nominated singer SZA, known as Solana Imani Rowe when she was at CHS, was inducted on Monday.
Rotimi is a 2006 graduate of CHS. He was a varsity basketball player, and performed in shows and sang when attending CHS.
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Rotimi is now a singer, actor, and model, and is known for his role as Darius Morrison on the Starz series Boss, and stars as Andre Coleman on Power. In 2014, Rotimi played the role of Ezra in the film Divergent.
"My best memories started here – what we have here is so different. You are prepared for life, and know how to deal with different people," said Rotimi to cheers from the audience.
Rotimi also encouraged students to “trust your instincts and intuition," and urged "let no one put you in a box.”’
Before leaving the stage, Rotimi thanked all for the honor, adding "thank you all for listening to me…don’t listen to hate."
Rotimi was given an inscribed plaque noting his induction into the Hall of Fame, and an additional copy will be displayed in the CHS library. The Columbia Student Council oversees the Hall of Fame and, along with faculty advisers, selects nominees from a long list of accomplished graduates.
"This is like getting a Grammy or an Oscar," said Rotimi.
The CHS Hall of Fame was first established in 1985 by then student council president, Andrew Shue, who was himself inducted in 1994 with his sister, Elizabeth Shue.
Other Hall of Fame inductees include Lauryn Hill (CHS '93, inducted '99), Paul Auster (CHS '65, inducted '08) and Zach Braff (CHS '93, inducted '15).