Jenifer Lewis, 67, reveals 10-foot fall from Serengeti balcony: ‘Nothing would move’

Jenifer Lewis in a red outfit and a gold chain necklace smiling and posing against a black background
Entertainer Jenifer Lewis, 67, revealed she fell 10 feet from a hotel balcony in Africa’s Serengeti.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press)

Jenifer Lewis, the Broadway and “Black-ish” television star known for her high kicks, revealed that an accident in the African Serengeti left her with injuries to her shoulder and hip.

The 67-year-old entertainer said she fell 10 feet from a hotel balcony while she was visiting the famed safari destination in 2022. She told “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts in an interview clip that aired Tuesday, “I was in shock.”

Lewis said: “In pitch black, I didn’t know I was falling. Nothing would move.”

On the heels of “Black-ish’s” series finale in 2022, Lewis — an avid traveler — said she booked a trip to Africa, where she visited various parts of the continent, including Cape Town in South Africa and Rwanda. “We’re feeling a lot,” she told Roberts. “We’re going where the real people are.”


A wildlife safari in the Serengeti was part of Lewis’ itinerary, she said, but her travels took a turn for the worse when she checked into her hotel room. The author and self-proclaimed “Mother of Black Hollywood” said she did not receive a room tour and explored the accommodations by herself.

“I should’ve been given a tour,” she said before detailing how she went to her balcony to check out the deck and infinity pool. She told Roberts a space of the balcony was not cordoned off and featured no warning signs.

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“I’m walking and all of a sudden ... I had fallen 10 feet into a dry ravine full of boulders, and stones, and sharp rocks,” she said.

Despite the pain, Lewis said she urged herself to call out to a friend accompanying her on the trip. However, when her friend used a flashlight to locate Lewis, she learned the actor was not alone in the dark. According to Lewis, a Cape buffalo and a lion were near where she had fallen.

Lewis said that soon after her fall, while she waited for medical assistance, she reflected on her mortality.

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“My last thought — because I am Jenifer Lewis —was, ‘What a headline,’” she said, laughing. “‘The King Ate the Queen: Pieces of Jenifer Lewis’ body [are] being flown back to the States.’”


After “GMA” aired the preview of Lewis’ conversation, Roberts told her co-anchors that the “Mystery Men” and “The Preacher’s Wife” actor said she kept private about her fall “until ‘I can show you how I got back up.’”

Lewis is set to revisit her debilitating fall and her recovery when her full interview with Roberts airs Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific.