Nabiyah Be

The Powerhouse
Former Pace University student, Nabiyah Be

Starring in an off-Broadway show, recording music, and making her movie debut in the biggest film of the year. The last year has been an incredible one for singer-songwriter and actress Nabiyah Be, who’s just getting started.

Born and raised in Brazil, Be was introduced to the musical stage by her father, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, with whom she toured internationally as a guest singer and back up dancer.

“Before I came to Pace, I knew that I had the potential to create, but I didn’t know exactly how to create on my own. I’m born and raised in Salvador, which is the capital of Bahia in Brazil, and they say that people in Bahia are not just born, they debut. Pace enabled that for me,” she said.

Since graduating from Pace, Be has made her mark in theatre, music, and film. She originated the role of Eurydice in Anaïs Mitchell's highly-acclaimed off-Broadway show Hadestown, earning praise from The New York Times who noted her "luminous beauty that makes Orpheus’s quick fall quite believable, and her singing is equally spellbinding. She also imbues the character with a transparent innocence that makes Eurydice’s susceptibility to doubt and seduction palpably believable.” She later reprised the role for the live cast album of Hadestown, released in October 2017.

Weeks later, Be was in the off-Broadway production of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, directed by Tony Award winner Rebeca Taichman, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. For her role as Ericka, Variety called her “effortlessly charming.”

Less than two months later, Be made her movie debut as Linda, the criminal associate to Erik Kilmonger, in Marvel’s record-breaking film Black Panther.

Currently, she’s back in the studio working on her own album, which conveys the boundless, borderless internationality of her generation through original sound and story.

As a singer and actor who grew up in Brazil, what drew you to New York and specifically Pace? Did you have any professors at Pace who really had an impact on you?

Theater, culture, and music. No other city in the US would do it for me. Pace was a wonderful match because I knew I would be able to work after my second year. Julie Fain Lawrence and Lester Shane really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I learned a lot with them.

With experience in singing, acting, and dancing, you’re a triple threat. Do you have a favorite? What do you find most challenging?

Oh well I'm trying to brush off those dancing skills to be honest with you. But I've really dedicated the last three years of my life of getting back in a music track, with my writing, singing, and playing.

2017 was a HUGE year for you—Black Panther, the Hadestown album, SCHOOLGIRLS; or the African Mean Girls Play. What was it like? Are you living your dream?

It feels great to celebrate each step of the way. There is still much work to be done, skill to be learned, and intuition to be heard.

Marvel’s Black Panther is your first feature film. And it’s also being lauded as one of the most—probably THE most—important superhero films of all time. How does it feel to be part of it?

A little crazy, a little scary, but very, very exciting!

What has been your proudest moment thus far in your career?

Realizing the healing my songs have brought me and actually pulling through to record the album.

What’s next for you? And what would you most like to work on?

The spring of this year I'll start to share some of my music. I'm really looking forward to where it may bring me.

Follow Be’s next moves on her website.

Former Pace University student, Nabiyah Be

Starring in an off-Broadway show, recording music, and making her movie debut in the biggest film of the year. The last year has been an incredible one for singer-songwriter and actress Nabiyah Be, who’s just getting started.

Born and raised in Brazil, Be was introduced to the musical stage by her father, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, with whom she toured internationally as a guest singer and back up dancer.

“Before I came to Pace, I knew that I had the potential to create, but I didn’t know exactly how to create on my own. I’m born and raised in Salvador, which is the capital of Bahia in Brazil, and they say that people in Bahia are not just born, they debut. Pace enabled that for me,” she said.

Since graduating from Pace, Be has made her mark in theatre, music, and film. She originated the role of Eurydice in Anaïs Mitchell's highly-acclaimed off-Broadway show Hadestown, earning praise from The New York Times who noted her "luminous beauty that makes Orpheus’s quick fall quite believable, and her singing is equally spellbinding. She also imbues the character with a transparent innocence that makes Eurydice’s susceptibility to doubt and seduction palpably believable.” She later reprised the role for the live cast album of Hadestown, released in October 2017.

Weeks later, Be was in the off-Broadway production of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, directed by Tony Award winner Rebeca Taichman, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. For her role as Ericka, Variety called her “effortlessly charming.”

Less than two months later, Be made her movie debut as Linda, the criminal associate to Erik Kilmonger, in Marvel’s record-breaking film Black Panther.

Currently, she’s back in the studio working on her own album, which conveys the boundless, borderless internationality of her generation through original sound and story.

As a singer and actor who grew up in Brazil, what drew you to New York and specifically Pace? Did you have any professors at Pace who really had an impact on you?

Theater, culture, and music. No other city in the US would do it for me. Pace was a wonderful match because I knew I would be able to work after my second year. Julie Fain Lawrence and Lester Shane really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I learned a lot with them.

With experience in singing, acting, and dancing, you’re a triple threat. Do you have a favorite? What do you find most challenging?

Oh well I'm trying to brush off those dancing skills to be honest with you. But I've really dedicated the last three years of my life of getting back in a music track, with my writing, singing, and playing.

2017 was a HUGE year for you—Black Panther, the Hadestown album, SCHOOLGIRLS; or the African Mean Girls Play. What was it like? Are you living your dream?

It feels great to celebrate each step of the way. There is still much work to be done, skill to be learned, and intuition to be heard.

Marvel’s Black Panther is your first feature film. And it’s also being lauded as one of the most—probably THE most—important superhero films of all time. How does it feel to be part of it?

A little crazy, a little scary, but very, very exciting!

What has been your proudest moment thus far in your career?

Realizing the healing my songs have brought me and actually pulling through to record the album.

What’s next for you? And what would you most like to work on?

The spring of this year I'll start to share some of my music. I'm really looking forward to where it may bring me.

Follow Be’s next moves on her website.