2018 was an extraordinary year for diversity and no film captured the spirit more than ‘Black Panther’. Not only is this the first Marvel comic book movie to star a black lead character, but an almost entirely black cast. And while the film’s two main characters, T’Challa played by Chadwick Boseman and Erik Stevens/Killmonger played by Michael B. Jordan are male, the film introduced four powerful female characters that became instant favorites. Now, these ladies are gracing the cover of ‘Entertainment Weekly’s annual “Entertainers of the Year” issue.
The most well-known among these stars is the 60 year-old Angela Bassett who plays T’Challa’s mother Ramonda, who discussed her role, saying:
“It’s a nation that respects and reveres women. They think of us not just as Queen but Queen Mother. Mother is nurturer and the first teacher.”
Joining Bassett are Danai Gurira as Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female strike force, Lupita Nyong’o who played T’Challa’s love interest, the spy Nakia and Letitia Wright who portrayed T’Challa’s snarky kid sister, Shuri, who also may be the biggest technological genius in the Marvel Universe.
As Gurira stated:
“It’s never said, ‘Oh, you’re a girl, therefore you cannot. Boys do the maths and sciences.’ That happens a lot in the world today. Girls are not encouraged to go into those fields.”
And as Wright pointed out, it is T’Challa’s attitude toward the women that sets the tone for the entire movie:
“Not only does he respect Shuri, but all the women. He respects his mother, he respects his general, and the lady he is pursuing. He holds his own as a man and a king, but he respects everyone’s section and what they’re doing.”
“Watching the movie for the first time, I was seeing the different women occupy the same space and be their full selves, acting not with competition but with agency. Their personal motivations are what leads them forward. They are not eye candy. Although, we do look pretty damn fly, I must say!”
It wasn’t just in ‘Black Panther’ that these women excelled. Gurira’s Okoye and Wright’s Shuri later factored heavily in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, which included a killer battle that united Okoye, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) against Carrie Coon’s villainous Proxima Midnight.
This issue of ‘Entertainment Weekly’ will be released this weekend, if you want to read more.
Also, check out these additional photos: