Wakanda may be a fictional country from the Marvel cinematic universe, but its depiction of rich African culture is clear as day as seen on the newest superhero film Black Panther. Apart from the representation of the African race, another strong theme in this movie is the empowerment of women. The titular character may be male, but there's no shortage of girl power here, and we can't help but applaud how the women of Black Panther are given a fair share of the spotlight and dynamic narratives.
The representation of women of color in films and other media is exactly what this world needs. So for all of you who want to see powerful femmes in action, then catching this latest Marvel masterpiece is a must! Here, we're giving you rundown of the inspiring actresses who made Black Panther a groundbreaking film!
1. Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia
The Academy award winner Lupita Nyong'o played the character Nakia, the undercover spy of Wakanda who reports back what's going on in the outside world. She's an active member of Dora Milaje, an all-female special forces of Wakanda, which also serves as the Black Panther's bodyguards. Nakia has also become the Black Panther's motivation to become a great king, even rendering the king speechless with her wisdom. With Nakia's extreme fight scenes and fierce personality, Lupita's training in Judo, Jujitsu, Silat, and Filipino martial arts for months definitely paid off!
In real life, Lupita has also proved numerous time that she's brimming with girl power. With her involvement in the organization Mother Health International, which provides birthing centers and relief to women and children in Uganda, there's no doubt that Lupita inspires us in many ways than one!
2. Danai Gurira as Okoye
The head of Dora Milaje, Okoye is played by another powerful actress and The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira. As a royal warrior, Okoye may be intimidating, but she has a heart for her country and for her people. She's always ready for action, even willing to give up her love for the head of Border Tribe W'Kabi to save her country, which makes her worthy of being called a true leader. We have to admit that she's a fan favorite because of her incredible fight scenes!
Danai also has a lot of similarities with Okoye. She stays physically fit because most of the character she plays have various fight scenes that she undoubtedly enjoys. Her co-star Lupita even described her as someone who breathes fire as Okoye! She has portrayed various kick-ass roles, and she slays them all!
3. Letitia Wright as Shuri
Marvel's latest breakout star, Letitia Wright, plays as the Black Panther's fiery and techy-savvy little sister and Wakanda princess, Shuri. Working with praiseworthy cast members, Letitia definitely justified herself as an A+ actress! Critics described her performance as effervescent, stating that her character even deserves to have its own film! We also love how Shuri serves witty comebacks to the people who insult her "creations," which were actually a big help during Killmonger's invasion.
Letitia's acting is just starting to be recognized, but the actress has been open to discussing difficult topics including mental health. She once said in an interview with Vanity Fair that she dealt with depression at the age of 20, which was the reason why she went on an acting hiatus. She's also outspoken about her religion, stating that it's her blooming love for God that made her fall in love with acting again.
4. Angela Bassett as Ramonda
T'Challa's regal mother and Queen of Wakanda, Ramonda is played by Angela Bassett. Ramonda is the one who holds Wakanda together after her husband's death and has remained strong for her people. And even though her son was declared as the new King, she embodies a commanding leadership and always knows what's best for everyone. She's a kindhearted queen, but, when needed, she would fight for her country in her own way.
In real life, actress Angela is a fighter, too! She has portrayed a ton of powerful and influential individuals, including Tina Turner and Rosa Parks who are icons of women empowerment. Plus, she's an active ambassador of UNICEF, extending her passions not just on screen, but all over the world!
These women has definitely become our new girl power icons! Who's your favorite character in Black Panther? Let us know in the comments below!
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Banner Photography from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures