Ahead of what is sure to be a meteoric blockbuster for Marvel Studios, the cast of the hotly anticipated Black Panther film — Chadwick Boseman, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright — grace not just one but three covers of Essence magazine for the annual “Black Women in Hollywood” March issue. Check out the all of the black hero magic below!
Available on new stands February 23, in the article “Watch the Throne,” the cast and creative team behind the critically acclaimed film share their thoughts on why the fantasy of these dynamic African characters feels real. The wonderful team at Essence shared with TV Source Magazine excerpts from the “Watch the Throne” interview feature.
FOREST WHITAKER ON THE GENIUS OF DIRECTOR RYAN COOGLER: “His films always have some message about the depth of humanity, bringing out the voices of people of color while finding the universal connection that brings us together as one…”
DANAI GURIRA ON WHAT THE ROLE MEANT TO HER: “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…”
LUPITA NYONG’O ON THE WONDER 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…”
ANGELA BASSETT ON PLAYING A QUEEN [Excerpt]: “When Angela Bassett received the call from [director] Coogler asking if she would play T’Challa’s stepmother, Queen Ramona, she had never heard of the character. ‘…Just to have an opportunity to portray that image—me, a little Black girl from the Florida projects. Playing a queen was just unattainable, unavailable. Even in a fictitious world, a Black woman cannot be a queen,’ she scoffs. ‘Why can’t I be?…”
LETITIA WRIGHT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FILM: “We understand the responsibility. That it can shift mind-sets. 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…”
The annual “Black Women in Hollywood” issue features Essence’s 2018 honorees who shine beyond the screen — actress/writer Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), actress Tiffany Haddish (Girl’s Trip), writer/actress/producer Lena Waithe (The Chi) and Tessa Thompson (Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, Dear White People). ESSENCE’s annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon—its highly anticipated annual Oscar-week celebration—will take place on Thursday, March 1st, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA.
When discussing creating opportunities for women of color, Danai Gurira says, “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.”
For more on Black Panther and the women magic and blazing new trails in Hollywood, pick up the March issue of Essence on February 23.
Marvel’s Black Panther blasts into theaters February 16th!