Auntie Angela aka Le Queen of Wakanda
I’d like to believe she taught Nia Long her early urban -esc simplicity, Kerry Washington how to elude onscreen power while floating every red carpet with grace. Gifting us the prototype of toned sass before we had Michelle, and is to movies what I remember about theater. She’s our fine rich Auntie, & Mastered Yale Alumna. Yes Sis, Yale.
My love for Angela Evelyn began in my grandparent's living room. I sat cross legged watching this brown , shea butter dipped woman belt out songs grandma and papa would tap their feet to. Pause, you mean that actually wasn’t her singing? This is a fact I am still coming to terms with. A tool from her craft box, allowing you to get lost in whatever character she portrayed, calling it "Transforming."
I’m swaying, grandma & papa are reminiscing and I just knew, This. Is. Tina. Turner. She made a 10 year old feel every word coming from her mouth, and that passion now awakes my senses like aged red wine. We frequented more history lessons with movies like The Jackson 5, watching her shift in bell bottoms, flared sleeves and Afros. Fast forward to the MOTHA of breakup movies and short hair. In Waiting to Exhale Angela marked her territory as being the epitome of an indestructible black woman who is vocal, yet my faaaaavorite ....soft.
Still I had to know
Besides her 59 year old body that is killing every 20 something woman I know ( Self Included). Why is she so respected amongst us? I found some of the answer in her 2016 Interview with the Breakfast Club; Charlemagne the usual Ass but in the presence of Mrs. Basset respectful and careful with his words asked;
Angela : "They've always sort of coexisted peacefully in my head and heart. As a young actress I said I want great roles. I want to be paid fairly, but art I suppose has always been a little more important. I've been known as someone who doesn't just do anything. There is a reason behind what I do. If its something you love and you start giving in for how much you gone pay me... that muse, that love sort of diminishes. Then it's ego. I've worked for little money, for lots of money, and for no money. But I wont do no money and no love."
I was 2 years old when Whats Love Got To Do With It made its debut, and 25 years later we still can't believe she didn't win the Oscar. I call this legacy. Her historical box office hits exist, but staying true to a sense of self she's also starred in less acclaimed and talked about films ... Catch her Rosa Parks film here, and had runs on Tv shows like American Horror Story; most recently debuted in a new Fox drama, 9-1-1. Auntie's also dabbled on the other side of the camera directing one of the first projects depicting the life of OUR Whitney Houston.
Because we are multiversed women whose interest exceed even what pays the bills, she now takes on the role of being a spokesperson for a campaign called For Your Sweet Heart. " a nationwide movement to raise awareness of the critical link between type 2 diabetes and heart disease." In 2014 Angela lost her mom to the complications of a disease that so many African Americans face but unbeknownst to them are ignorant in terms of prevention and treatment. The nurse in me calls this reality in the black community; A Space between Culture and The Fatalities of Stroke, Amputation, and Obesity. - No this is not a published piece yet; give me a few years, sis!
Told you Beautiful, we are allowed to play in many realms ..
But she's walked in Royalty from the beginning. I'll be honest, before seeing the anticipated Black Panther I was prepared to see her play another on screen force. Instead I was met with intentional short scenes, one could even say guest appearances. Allowing her name and presence to introduce main stream to the next generation of black female actresses.
And before we could articulate self care and soul as a necessity, we watched her artistry manifest it. What we love about Angela Basset is her harmony. An African American, married mom who has always been selective in choosing her work, even when her generation of Baby Boomers advised; be quiet, just say thank you.
In another interview she was asked to share her tips to Success. - This time I took out my notebook, i.e. my iphone.
Angela: "Confidence. Part of what makes it go on is I maintain that gratefulness and professionalism, and I am always studying and being inspired."
Black women are currently under the microscope of celebration, and I am always in the mood to make the picture of female larger and more clear. Yes, we have watched and admired her for years; but In the words of Michael B when he first met the Queen in Wakanda ... we are all proudly yelling, (Just in case the Oscars are now ready to hear it)... "Heyyyy Auntie!"