In a world much fairer than the one we currently occupy, Angela Bassett shelves would be adorned with multiple Oscars. While watching the latest installment of the Black Panther franchise, I was reminded of the sheer brilliance and excellence of the actress who has blessed audiences with her boundless talents for over three decades now. I wasn’t the only one captivated by Bassett’s performance, with some people even going as far as to suggest that Bassett might garner award recognition for the role.
To borrow from her husband, actor Courtney B. Vance, when talking about his wife in the Nov/ Dec Essenceissue: “I don’t know anybody else like her. She’s once in a generation; once in a lifetime. I always tell her that the world is waiting for her Oscar so that we can lift her up 30 years past when we should have.”
xoNecole takes a look back at some of Bassett’s stand-out roles.
1993: 'What’s Love Got To Do With It'
In her career-defining role, Bassett stars as rock 'n' roll icon Tina Turner in a biopic about the legendary singer’s career and tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband Ike Turner. The role would earn Bassett her first and currently only Oscar nomination. In a 2018 interview with Watch What Happens LiveWith Andy Cohen, Bassett agreed with the host when he said that he felt like Bassett was robbed of the Academy Award that would end up being awarded to Holly Hunter.
This wasn’t the first nor last time Bassett would prove that she could portray a real-life person. She has also played Michael and Janet Jackson’s mom Katherine Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream as well as historical figures such as Betty Shabazz, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King.
1995: 'Waiting to Exhale'
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This classic film based on the Terry McMillan novel of the same name boasted a star-studded ensemble cast that includes Loretta Devine to thee Whitney Houston. But it was Bassett who stole the show when her character Bernadette lit her unfaithful ex-husband’s car on fire after going on an emotional tirade. The scene would go down as one of the most iconic in film history while also invigorating every woman scorned who watched it.
1998: 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back'
In another Terry McMillan film adaptation (which is based on a true story), Bassett plays the titular Stella as she sojourns to Jamaica after her divorce and meets a young, fine local played by Taye Diggs. Bassett’s role would once again inspire Black women across the country to find their own groove again.
2006: 'Akeelah and the Bee'
In what would be the breakout role for a then-unknown Keke Palmer, Bassett plays the mother to Palmer’s character who is a spelling bee prodigy. Marking her third on-screen appearance with actor Laurence Fishbourne, Bassett plays the concerned mother role the only way she knows how.
2022: 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'
Returning as Ramonda, the queen of Wakanda, Bassett is every bit as regal as she was in the first film. With her role expanded in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s death, Bassett delivers a stunning performance that many think will finally secure her second chance at Oscar gold.
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Feature image by Emma McIntyre/WireImage