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Sneak Peak into the March Issue of Essence on “Black Women in Hollywood” Featuring “Black Panther”


According to a February 7, 2018, Indiewire article, “Black Panther” will break many box-office records. Stating that, “It will very likely join the top 5 among all Marvel openings, but that's only the beginning for Ryan Coogler's superhero.”

In the March issue of Essence, its cast offers a sneak peek into Black Panther’s incredible world of Wakanda — with three regal covers featuring stars Chadwick Boseman, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright. In the accompanying article, “Watch the Throne,” cast and creatives expound on why this African fantasy feels very real. 

Playwright and actress Gurira plays Okoye, head of the Dora Milaje (Wakanda’s all-female special forces of who are T'Challa's bodyguards) and is a member of the Border tribe — said that the role was appealing because she responded to the idea of powerful women. “The idea of creating a scenario where you’re seeing very powerful empowered Africans is really thrilling to me, " "something my heart, soul, and spirit yearned to see…”

Oscar® winning actress Lupita Nyong'o is Nakia of the River Tribe, T'Challa's former lover and a Dora Milaje operative, expressed what she felt, as an African woman, when she walked on the set of Wakanda: “For me, as an African in this film, to walk on set and to see these incredible costumes and hairdos, these are the things I grew up seeing, but they’ve just been elevated to a fantastical place. We’re going to experience the richness of the continent because the continent is what has informed us of what Wakanda could be…”

March 2018 Cover-Women 2In the role of the Queen Mother Ramonda, actress Angela Bassett shared that when she received the call from director Coogler, she had never heard of her character but was eager to play the stepmother of T’Challa — Black Panther.  

What most critics are calling a stand-out performance by newcomer Letitia Wright, who plays Princess Shuri, Black Panther’s super-smart 16 year old sister and second in line for  Wakanda's throne, the young actress made it clear that she understood what was being placed on her slender but capable shoulders. “We understand the responsibility. It can shift mindsets. I can be a Black superhero. I can be a scientist. I’m a queen. I’m a young prince. It’s not about me. It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than all of us…”

Also in the March issue, is a feature created around their annual Black Women in Hollywood event where Essence onorees those who shine beyond the screen— Gurira, Tiffany Haddish, Lena Waithe and Tessa Thompson

Essence’s annual “Black Women in Hollywood” luncheon — its highly anticipated annual Oscar-week celebration — will take place on Thursday, March 1st, 2018, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA

The following are comments from the honorees:

Haddish on Having Fun While Performing:
“'When you’re onstage, you need to be having fun.’ That’s the advice Richard Pryor gave me. No matter what I’m doing or where I am, I live by that philosophy…If I’m not having fun? Well, that’s when I end up getting arrested!…”

Gurira on Creating Opportunities for Women of Color:
“Creating opportunities for Black women, women of African descent and other women of color is a big part of my mandate because I want us to shine. I understand that being on TV as Michonne [in The Walking Dead] and in films like ‘Black Panther’ helps Black girls feel validated. I don’t take that lightly…”

Waithe on Winning an Emmy and Telling Our Stories:
“Being the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing was just amazing, but I don’t want to be the last. The award is bigger than me. It’s about our industry, our society, taking a big leap forward. It’s about my ancestors, the women comedy writers and queer communities of color. I shared that moment with them…”

Thompson on Breaking New Ground With Her Roles:
“I feel as if I’m breaking new ground and providing more representation for women of color around the globe. But even if it wasn’t me, I’d still look at those projects and if I saw a woman who looked like me, I’d think, Wow!…”

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