Angela Bassett is a widely acclaimed actress with an iconic career. She was born in New York City, and began her journey to stardom while studying at Yale University, where she earned her Master’s of Fine Arts in Drama.
After graduation, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting on the stage. Over the course of the next several years, she secured starring roles in acclaimed productions such as August Wilson’s “Fences”. Eventually, her stage career took her to Los Angeles and television stardom.
Her television debut was on China Beach and from that role she went on to star in critically-acclaimed films like What’s Love Got To Do With It and Malcolm X. In each of these performances, Bassett showcased her riveting talent for portraying strong female characters who exhibit strength, depth and emotion. Moreover, she became known for taking powerful roles that tackled topics like racism, sexism and other forms of oppression.
Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling
One of Angela Bassett’s most powerful roles came in the groundbreaking film, What’s Love Got to Do With It? This biopic of legendary singer Tina Turner highlighted the strong female lead she embodied and displayed her immense talent to a new generation of fans.
This success was a testament to Angela Bassett’s career longevity and her ability to break through the glass ceiling. Throughout her decades-long career, Angela has continued to challenge traditional roles for women in Hollywood and she has been a pioneer in representing strong black female leads in mainstream films. Despite working in an industry that discriminates against black women, Angela Bassett has continued to rise to the challenge and break through barriers, both on and off screen.
Her inspiring story is part of what continues to draw audiences around the world and make her one of the greats in modern entertainment. She’s an icon that will continue inspiring generations with her amazing talent and undeniable resilience.
Her Impact on Hollywood
Angela Bassett’s accomplishments not only redefine what it means to be an iconic actress but also inspire actors and filmmakers across the globe. As a two-time Emmy Award winner, and four-time NAACP Image Award winner, she has cemented her legacy as one of the most beloved actresses in the industry.
Her relentless commitment to quality roles in her films is a testament to her ambition and passion for acting. She continues to break barriers and challenge traditional stereotypes of race and gender in Hollywood. Some of her memorable performances include:
- Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993)
- Dr. Jean Holloway in London Has Fallen (2016)
- Dr. Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad (2016)
- Ramonda (Black Panther’s mother) in Avengers: Endgame (2019)
By pushing the boundaries with choice roles and becoming a trailblazer for female African American actors, Bassett has sparked a movement while redefining diversity in Hollywood. Her commitment to portray strong female characters underscores her mission to promote positive change through powerful stories on screen.
Roles That Inspire and Empower
Angela Bassett is an icon for strength and power in the film industry, consistently embodying characters that inspire and empower. From her breakout role as Tina Turner in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It to her roles in 2 Days in the Valley, Waiting to Exhale, and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Bassett has forged a career that’s full of award-winning performances.
Her characters are often incredibly independent women – never afraid to stand up for themselves or take charge of their lives. She inspires her viewers to have confidence in their own abilities and strength, no matter what they may be facing. Here are just a few of her iconic roles that convey this powerful message:
- Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
- Dr. Faith Coleridge – Strange Days
- Angela Bassett – How Stella Got Her Groove Back
- Miranda Presley – Music of the Heart
- Della Bea Robinson – Ray
Through these beloved performances, Angela Bassett continues to show us the power of determination and courage and encourages us all to strive for our best selves.
Behind the Scenes of Angela Bassett’s Iconic Roles
We all know and love Angela Bassett for her iconic roles in films like What’s Love Got to Do With It and Malcolm X. But what you may not know is the intense preparation she goes through to take on each role.
Research & Study
Bassett has spoken openly about how she immerses herself in her characters by going months at a time without taking on any other roles or projects. She begins with comprehensive research of the subject matter, digging deep into the lives of the real people she is portraying. She then dives into reading, watching films and talking with friends about the characters until she feels ready to play them on-screen.
Once Bassett has finished researching each character, she sets off on an intense journey to become them physically. Her training regime often starts two to three months before filming begins and consists of a relentless diet schedule, weightlifting regime and martial arts training so that her body can accurately portray the physicality of her characters. This level of dedication is what makes Angela Bassett such an icon in Hollywood.
Exploring Angela Bassett’s Best Performances
Angela Bassett has been thrilling audiences with her powerful performances since the early 1990s. From her Academy Award-nominated role in What’s Love Got to Do With It? to her role as Tina Turner in the Broadway adaption of Turner’s hit biopic, here are some of Bassett’s most memorable performances.
Waiting to Exhale
In 1995, Bassett starred in the beloved romantic comedy Waiting to Exhale as Bernadine Harris. In this role, Bassett steered away from typical tropes of African-American women and instead portrayed a character that was strong, independent and unapologetically real. This powerful performance helped Bassett become one of the highest paid African-American actresses at the time.
In 1992, Basset starred alongside Denzel Washington as Betty X in Spike Lee’s biopic Malcolm X. The role earned Basset a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Throughout the film, Basset delivered an emotionally charged performance that captivated audiences and demonstrated her immense talent.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
In 1998, Bassett played against type as Stella Payne in How Stella Got Her Groove Back – a romantic comedy about a woman rediscovering her sense of self after a midlife crisis. The film was a commercial success, earning over $38 million at the box office and once again showcasing Bassett’s unique ability to take on an array of roles with ease.
For decades, Angela Bassett has cemented her legacy as a starring actress, activist, and role model. Her grace and power both on-screen and off have made her a recognizable force in Hollywood, one that can’t be ignored or forgotten. She’s dedicated her career to the empowerment of women of color and the championing of the African diaspora, proving that those from underrepresented backgrounds can make it to the very top. Angela Bassett is a living example of the power of hard work, dedication, and resilience—we can only hope to follow in her footsteps and make an impact of our own.