Angela Bassett, a graduate from the Yale School of Drama, was nominated this year as best supporting actress for her role of the Queen in the movie 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’.
It took her almost three decades to receive the second nomination of her career. Bassett said to us that she’s often had to eschew expectations with her career, even up to this current time in which she’s become the first actor to ever be nominated for a Marvel movie.
The actress looked back on her career and the impact of her critically acclaimed performance in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, as she was honored at the Santa Barbara International Film in Santa Barbara, Calif. Bassett said she’d been “pigeonholed” as a TV actress after working on soap operas in the 1970s and ’80s, but ‘Boyz n the Hood’ writer-director John Singleton gave her a chance.
Alluring audiences with emotionally tinged performances has been the signature of Angela Bassett who personifies a sense of dignity and pride whenever she appears on screen.
Her talent and abilities as an actress and executive producer in both television and film have time and again earned the respect and acclaim from her peers and her fans to prove herself to be one of the industry’s premier leading ladies. Also, Bassett is an author who pinned a book she co-wrote with her husband, actor Courtney B. Vance, entitled FRIENDS: A Love Story The inspirational book is the real-life love story of Bassett and Vance, who were friends for many years before marrying. Bassett first made the successful crossover to the big screen when she appeared in a small but rich role as the ambitious single mother who sends her son to live with his father in John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood’.
Q: It seems that you choose scripts for your movies that are based on bestsellers. Do you like literary adaptations?
A: I am not an intellectual. I respect art and craft. I respect people’s process. I understand some people have to go to those great lengths to get to that work. I don’t, and I don't make any excuses or try to minimize that what I’m offering is still valuable and important, even though I go at it from a very natural way. I love when you’re underestimated because then you have an opportunity to really shut it down. I’d rather be under than over. I prefer it.
Q: What does it mean for you to Play Ramonda in Wakanda Forever?
A: Life and art were hand in glove in the making of that movie. I am very proud of that character. Just so, so proud of us, as humans too, in the way that it was approached and carried out. This movie was about grief and loss, family, a remembrance, a legacy and moving on. That’s something that’s so very human.
Q: Do you speak Spanish?
A: Barely. I can’t speak Spanish but I can pick a word here and there in Spanish here. Maybe I’m not fluent but I like to celebrate Spanish culture. I love a good margarita day.
Q: Did you have a margarita to celebrate your Oscar nomination?
A: After 29 years, I didn’t give up hope, because I never ever give up hope, but it was a little faint light that it would be possible with this role. I’m glad I had the opportunity to celebrate. The journey for the Marvel franchise has been one of the highlights of my career and I will always treasure the magic that led us toward ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’. I knew when I lived in New York, I saw everyone on the subway, on the A Train reading that book. So I thought, ‘This is going to be successful,’ because it already had an incredible audience. We had never seen characters on film like this: four strong Black women, compelling, interesting, loving, hopeful, in various situations.
P: You have been very vocal about bans of books in some States of the country?
R: It seems with each passing day, there are more book bans and swaths of American history that governors and state legislatures want to erase. One of my favorite novels, Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’, has recently been added to a banned list which signals to me what a daring work it is. After all, no one bans books or teachings that aren't influential or important. As parents of 16-year-old twins who will soon be off to college, my husband, Courtney, and I feel it's critical that our children make their way in this world with a full understanding and knowledge about the country in which they live. This is occurring as we share factual details with them about Black hardship, pain, and tragedy, but also truths that illustrate our determination, accomplishment, and triumph.
Q; Do you have a compromise with your community?
A: My husband, Courtney, and I had that same mission at heart when we decided to form our production company: paying homage to the influence of our ancestors, and recognizing important and often not-well-known history with roots in the Black community. We launched Bassett Vance Productions two years ago, but the work we are introducing to the world has taken on a greater significance and urgency. In keeping with the broad arc of history and narratives we wish to explore, we are particularly proud of our projects thus far, like One Thousand Years of Slavery. We're also working to create the first scripted series based on Tulsa’s Greenwood district, which was known as Black Wall Street, leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Both projects are intended to educate as well as serve as a springboard for vital conversations about race. We're also going to reimagine a beloved holiday classic, ‘ The Preacher’s Wife’ which will encompass all the enchantment, wonder, and joy that delighted audiences in the 1996 film.
Q: Have you read any Spanish authors?
A: Yes, I have read ‘A Hundred Years of Solitude’ , which is one of my favorite books. As a reader and a mother a producer I feel the responsibility to create works with timeless content that inform and entertain, and to act as mentors to the next generation of writers, directors, and actors who will continue to preserve our culture.