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Angela Bassett in Black Panther is Perfect Casting

What do the widow of Malcolm X, Tina Turner, and Ramonda the Queen Mother of Wakanda have in common? They all are roles that have been or will be played by Angela Bassett. This is not only an obvious coup in terms of star power for the upcoming Black Panther movie as she joins (among others) Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, and Chadwick Boseman but it’s also historically appropriate.
Let me explain. First who is Ramonda in the comics? She is the wife of King T’Chaka, Black Panther’s father. After the death of T’Chaka’s wife and biological mother of the current Black Panther, T’Chaka took as his wife a South African woman named Ramonda who became his queen and the only mother T’Challa knew. She was later abducted by an official from her homeland (revealed in Marvel Comics Presents Volume 1 #37) while his captive her husband was murdered by the mineral poacher Klaw and T’Challa assumed the throne. When he learned she was still alive T’Challa despite counsel from his advisors that he was possibly committing an act of war being a head of state went to South Africa rescued her bringing her back to Wakanda and installing her as the Queen Mother (events happening in the Black Panther: Panther’s Prey miniseries). From that day she became one of his few actually trusted advisers.
Now let’s look at the state of things in 1989 when these were being published. South Africa was ruled by the White minority Apartheid government. A real Ramonda being a Black woman in that country in that time would have been seen by her government as less than human and a potential terrorist and murderer. Marvel despite it’s checkered past when it comes to presenting current events and non stereotypical People of Color didn’t flinch when Dave Cockrum took this on. And neither did performers of color worldwide.
Angela Bassett has been an outspoken voice for social justice and the realities of apartheid have been no exception. From interviews to her spectacular performance in the 2000 film Boesman and Lena. She reportedly took the role of Tina Turner in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It? In order to bring to light the reality of spousal abuse and the fact that a survivor can grow and thrive after the abuse ends. As Betty X she brought to an audience who may not have understood the importance of the people around Malcolm a wife, confidant, and stalwart.
Now look at those two women I’ve just described as well as the issues facing people of color around the world today and tell me this isn’t one of the most perfect pairings of actress and role.

Malkontent Blizzard
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