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Jenifer Lewis Opens Up About Her Near-Fatal Fall From a Balcony in Africa

Shannon Finney/Getty Images
Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Black-ish actress Jenifer Lewis is opening up about a terrifying near-death experience after she fell from a balcony in Africa two years ago.

In an ABC interview with Robin Roberts that was previewed on Tuesday, Lewis said that after Black-ish had wrapped in 2022, she planned to retire and travel the world. One of her destinations was the Serengeti region of Africa, where she was staying in a hotel room with a balcony overlooking an infinity pool.

“When the sun sets in the Serengeti, there are no street lights. It is pitch black,” she said. One night, she “saw the infinity pool out on my deck. So I went out. I was just taking in the fact that I was back in the Serengeti once again and I’m walking and all of a sudden, I had fallen 10 feet.”

Lewis fell “into a dry ravine full of boulders and stones and sharp rocks.”

Lewis described the pain to Roberts, saying, “Of course, I was in shock. My right hip took the impact. My shoulder went up against the stone. A lightning bolt went through my mind’s eye right here in pitch black.” Video footage of the incident shows a wild buffalo roaming just feet away from where Lewis fell.

The actress thankfully summoned enough energy to yell to her friend. But when her friend then ran to get help, Lewis was again alone, motionless, in the dark.

“I heard a lion roar. My last thought, because I am Jenifer Lewis, was what a headline: ‘The King Ate the Queen,’ ‘Pieces of Jenifer Lewis’ Body Are Being Flown Back to the States,’” she said with a laugh.

The ABC interview is Lewis’ first time publicly discussing the accident. Roberts said that when she asked Lewis why she’d never shared what happened to her until now, the actress responded, “I didn’t want y’all to know I had fallen until I could show you how I got back up.”

Lewis’ full interview with Roberts airs Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC and later on Hulu.

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