She is strong. She is intense. She is smart and she is beautiful. Angela Bassett is remarkable on the silver screen. She is famous for her roles in Waiting to Exhale, The Rosa Parks Story, Malcolm X, and What’s Love Got to Do with It.
Angela received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yale in African-American Studies and Fine Arts, respectively. In 1994, she became the only African-American woman (and still is) to hold a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical for her portrayal of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It. Bassett earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 20, 2008. Born on August 16, 1958, she turns 60 this year and she is still killing it!
Bassett works with several charities including: UNICEF, Boys & Girls Club of America, and Habitat for Humanity. She has recently been involved in campaigns that help educate and raise awareness for Type 2 Diabetes, like For Your Sweetheart.
Angela Bassett’s mother, Betty Jane Bassett, died of heart disease caused by Type 2 Diabetes. Her recent involvement is dedicated to her mother. Betty Jane’s oldest brother, ‘Uncle Ralph’ is also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
Today, I want to talk about Bassett’s role in horror and cult classics. She has appeared in Critters 4, Nightmare Café, and Innocent Blood. She was the leading lady in Supernova and Vampire in Brooklyn.
In Wes Craven’s Vampire in Brooklyn, Angela Bassett played Rita Veder, an NYPD detective who eventually finds herself having to decide between living life as a human or as a vampire queen. However, she doesn’t know she is a dhampir (half vampire, half human). She is seduced by Maximillian, a vampire who is the sole survivor of his lineage, looking to turn Rita to help him carry on the bloodline.
While Vampire in Brooklyn didn’t have the most popular reception in its day, due to Wes Craven and Eddie Murphy’s conflicting portrayals and visions for the movie, it is a cult classic today. Angela Bassett gave Rita Veder strength, sex appeal, and authority; These are qualities that are imperative when going up against a head vampire.
My favorite scene in Vampire in Brooklyn is actually when Maximillian is dancing with Rita before he bites her. During the whole interaction with Maximillian, Angela Bassett is soft and vulnerable, something that is not often seen in her performances.
Horror Fact: While filming “Vampire in Brooklyn, Angela Bassett’s stunt double, Sonja Davis, fell off the roof. She was in a coma for a few weeks before she passed away.
Angela Bassett has an affinity for playing strong and independent characters. Her recent work in American Horror Story showcases just that. In season 3, Coven, she plays the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau. In season 4, Freak Show, she plays Desiree Dupree, a three breasted Freak Show performer who helps fight for the lives of the other ‘freaks’. In, season 5, Hotel, she plays Ramona Royale, a blaxploitation actress infected with immortality. In season 6, Roanoke, she plays Monet Tumusiime, an actress involved in re-enacting Lee Harris in “My Roanoke Nightmare.” She has even directed 2 episodes of AHS.
The much anticipated release of Marvel’s Black Panther, which happens this weekend, will make a huge leap for the African-American culture and society. It is the first black superhero movie that features African culture with vibrance and richness. You can see Angela Bassett on screen as Ramonda, T’Challa’s queen mother, in all her fierceness and resilience.
So, let’s give Angela Bassett a standing ovation and a round of applause for her raw talent and contributions!
What’s you favorite Angela Bassett movie? Comment below.