Angela Bassett discusses dealing with loss, breaking down barriers and more in a new interview with InStyle.
The 63-year-old directed the 2015 TV movie “Whitney”, as well as starred in 1995’s “Waiting to Exhale” with the late Houston. She also worked alongside the late Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther”.
Bassett says of dealing with the loss of such incredible co-stars: “The loss can be overwhelming, but I try to remain grateful for the moments I’ve had with them and for the contribution that they’ve made to my life and to culture.
“Instead of leaning into the loss, I lean into the blessing that their life was and will appear to be in spirit. When you’re a person of faith, you know that we are much more than just flesh and blood. We’re spirit, heart, and soul as well. And we trust that those things remain with us.”
READ MORE: Angela Bassett Reveals What It’s Been Like Filming ‘Black Panther’ Sequel Without Chadwick Boseman
Bassett also talks about breaking down barriers by taking on her acting roles: “30 and 40 years ago when I started out, Black characters were weighted too heavily in the negative.
“I was always mindful of those images. What are you saying about me and who I represent as a woman of colour? There’s complexity to us. There’s beauty to us. There’s strength to us. There’s compassion to us. There are so many wonderful things.”
She says of the impact her work is making: “It’s the women in my family who have influenced my roles. Growing up without every convenience and then seeing my mother who persevered, and she still had grace. She would make a dollar out of 15 cents. She had resilience and threw herself into every detail, even if it was the way she took pride in setting a table.
“On the other hand, having an aunt who was an educator and went on to get her master’s and Ph.D. And growing up with my grandmother and great-grandmother, imagining what their struggles might have been like in Georgia in the early 1900s and what they endured. They continued to be gracious, beautiful, warm, and easy women with a smile and a laugh, despite it all.”
READ MORE: Angela Bassett’s ‘9-1-1’ Raise Could Make Her TV’s Highest-Paid Drama Actress Of Colour Ever
Bassett mentions that her career is “so much more than I ever dreamed of.”
She gushes, “I mean, theatre is my first love. I love the stage. [My husband] Courtney [B. Vance] and I did one of playwright John Guare’s plays years ago [‘His Girl Friday’], and Guare said, ‘Angela, you’re a theatre animal. You command the stage and the audience.’ It was the highest compliment.”
The beloved star adds of following her dreams: “My senior year in college, I told myself, ‘I’m going to give my own dreams a shot. And should they not work out the way I desire, I have all the time in the world to maybe give someone else’s a shot.’ I look up to every single woman who has the courage to follow her heart. Any woman in any discipline who’s doing her thing. It takes courage and bravery to do it anyway when you’re unsure.”
The interview will be featured in InStyle’s February 2022 issue hitting newsstands on Jan. 14.