ESSENCE COVER - Ms. Bassett - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Wednesday, October 26, 2022



 ESSENCE Communications, Inc., the leading media, technology, and commerce company serving Black women and communities reveal Wakanda’s Queen Angela Bassett as their November/December 2022 Cover Star.

Angela Bassett…

On building her resume in film after being cast in Boyz n the Hood

“You have to stay hungry, and you have to remain hungry. I was the wife of, the mother of. I wasn’t number one on the call sheet—if that’s important to you, which it’s not to me, because as we say, you can do a lot with a little and make a great impact. Judi Dench won an Oscar with 12 lines. So we don’t have to fool ourselves into believing that you have to be first and foremost.”

On Life After What’s Love Got to Do With it

“That’s perhaps when I thought, Okay, I’ve made it—but then the phone didn’t ring for a year and a half after that,” she remembers.” Bassett says she had to tell herself, “You were number one. How do you remain number one? It’s not always possible. Interest in our stories ebbs and flows over time, and not always are women like me, darkened by the sun, cast as the lead. So you have to look for other opportunities, where you can have a voice and make your mark and say something.”

On Being One of the Highest Paid Actresses of Color on Television

“As RiRi said, ‘Pay me what you owe me.’ We all should be compensated fairly, and that was one of my mantras. I would say to myself, I want to work. I want to work consistently, and

I want to be paid fairly, and that has happened.” 

On Not Choosing Work for the Money

“Listen, even after What’s Love, I’ve done projects where you’re getting paid the minimum. The whole thing, they’re going to pay you $5,000. I think I did that last year. I’ve directed where it’s like, are they even paying me? I don’t know. I’m not checking for it, because I’m learning. It’s not always about money. Sometimes it is, and a lot of times I’ve turned things down because the project’s not right, or the situation’s not right, or the story’s not right. You always want the muse to show up. As they say, all money ain’t good money.”

On How Having a Working-Class Upbringing Dictates Her Work Ethic

“I think a part of me, or part of us as Black women, is that we become used to the stress of life. It can become so pervasive, so every day, that it’s just what it is—with the work, and the husband, and the family, and all that. That pulls on you.

On having butterflies returning to the set of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“There are these two things that we were dealing with: the loss of our leader and trying to meet the expectations of an audience. The mantle is monumental, but it’s not so heavy that we can’t accomplish what we all gathered together to do.”

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