Fresh Black Girls: Angela Bassett!
The other night I was watching What’s Love Got To Do With It?, a favorite of mine since high school. After over 20 viewings, every nuance of Angela Bassett’s performance still impresses me. In fact, if Angela Bassett were white she’d have star power along the lines of Julia Roberts, and if you don’t agree then you should pack your things and leave this blog. Homegirl can ACT, and she does so always, under any condition necessary. She is our go-to girl for first class acting and sure should be after almost twenty years of experience (and for those of you who know that I’m a sucker for the Ivy League thing, she spent seven years at Yale in the Af-Am Studies and Drama departments). Angela Bassett is our go-to girl for first-class acting, which also makes her the poster girl for “when bad movies happen to great actors.” Waiting to Exhale? Ok. Vampire in Brooklyn? Yipes. In fact, what inspired me to FBG her were the reviews I read of Meet The Browns, which all noted her exceptional performance in the midst of perfectly acceptable (and not much more) black film. Perhaps because there simply aren’t enough roles out there for her she feels obligated to bless us with her gifts and thereby ends up conjuring that episode of Good Times where the Evans family shines up Ned The Wino and props him up on the sofa so that Florida can win some “Housekeeping in the Hood” award. She just sets the bar so consistently that no one else can keep up, and I have to love her for it. To really tie the noose around the neck of black cinema, she even played Betty Shabazz TWICE (in Malcom X and Panther), and Betty Shabazz has only been depicted in four movies. She also authentically played Katherine Jackson and Rosa Parks. Sacred black entertainment stuff – I mean really, what more can anyone do to immortalize our icons onscreen? And, guess who turns 50 this year but is still super fly and tight with arms that I aim for while on the weight machine trying to turn my grandma guns into something tank-top worthy? On another note, I love that she’s always with her man Courtney B. Vance – another veteran actor – genuine black-love style and you KNOW it’s for real. Just pure black beauty and radiance. If you feel me, please comment by cosigning on her freshness.