Angela Bassett is the queen of doing the thing.
And by “the thing,” I mean acting her talented behind off, like she’s done for the past several decades on both the big and small screen. And now, nearly 30 years later, she may finally get rewarded with the top prize in the industry—an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 2023 Academy Awards—for being such a badass all this time.
Whether you know her as the Queen Mother of Wakanda (from the Black Panther franchise), Katherine Jackson (The Jacksons: An American Dream), Bernadine Harris, (Waiting to Exhale, my second personal favorite), Betty Shabazz (Malcom X), Tina Turner (What’s Love Got to Do With It?, my number one favorite), Stella Payne (How Stella Got Her Groove Back), Reva Styles (Boyz N the Hood) and many more, what’s abundantly clear is that Bassett has remained at the top of her class when it comes to true thespianism and artistry.
I’ll never forget the first time I watched the 1993 Tina Turner biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It? What stood out to me almost immediately was just how believable Bassett was in this role. The way she dissolved into and embodied the essence of one of America’s most legendary rock stars is something all creatives of all industries can learn from when it comes to dedication and devotion to your craft. And that’s exactly why I’ll forever be salty that she didn’t take home the Oscar for Best Actress that next year.
I can’t tell you how many lines I still quote from that film and her 1995 follow up film, Waiting to Exhale. While I can’t directly and specifically relate to the plight of her character in this movie, I have been cheated on in my lifetime and angry enough to want to make drastic changes in my life to better my situation. And while I didn’t set my ex’s car on fire, seeing that moment played out on will go down as one of the most iconic scenes in cinema for its rawness.
It’s one thing to be good at what you do. But it’s a whole other thing to be good at what you do, job after job, year after year, and to somehow get better at every turn—and that’s exactly the thing that Angela Bassett does. Anytime she rises to the occasion, she demands that others do too. She’s also managed to walk with integrity, grace, class and get more beautiful as she ages, making herself a walking personification of the phrase “Black don’t crack.” It’s no wonder why we love her, honestly. And it’s no wonder why her own husband Courtney B. Vance feels proud to see her have this deservedly grand of a moment after all these years.
“That’s my baby. She’s the queen to you all but she’s the queen of my life,” Vance told The Root on the red carpet ahead of the 2023 ABFF Honors on Sunday. “I’ve been waiting on this moment, and I told her, ‘It’s coming. It’s gon’ be here and God’s gonna orchestrate it so that when it’s done everybody’s gon’ lift you up.’ So we just had to wait for it. It’s here now and we’re all lifting her up.”
And that right there says it all. Congratulations on everything you’ve done and will continue to do, Mrs. Bassett. We’ll forever be rooting for you.