Angela Bassett becomes the second Black actress to receive an honorary Oscar award 

Angela Bassett has made history by becoming the second black female Oscar honoree at the 14th Governors Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It is also known as the ‘Oscars Awards’ which is the Academy’s trademark. The veteran actress has a career that spans three decades.

She is known for her roles as Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” which earned her an Oscar nomination and Queen Ramonda in the acclaimed Marvel film “Black Panther” and its sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” where she rendered a monologue worthy of an Oscar. The role made her the first Marvel Studios actress nominated for an Oscar.

Bassett attended the ceremony with her husband, Courtney B. Vance, and her twins, Slater Josiah Vance and Bronwyn Golden Vance. In her speech, Bassett emphasized being the second black woman to receive the award.

“I have had to let it sink in that I am the second Black actress to receive an honorary Academy Award.”

The first is the late Cicely Tyson, who received the award in 2018. Angela proceeded to acknowledge the black actresses who have won Oscars. From Haitee McDaniel, the first Black actress to win an Oscar award, to Halle Berry, the only Black female awardee in the best actress category.

“Ten actresses who are makers of history in our industry. I call their names to acknowledge every one of them this evening for being beacons of possibility and hope for little Black and Brown girls who aspire to one day pursue the dream of becoming actors.”

Angela Bassett via Instagram

The actress concluded her speech by encouraging other Black actresses: “To all my fellow Black actresses, fill your hearts with courage and strength, because regardless of what you may think, see, or feel, our contributions do matter. Remember who you are and how our ancestors intended us to be.”

We celebrate with the 65-year-old actress, who is still very active in Hollywood. And like she rightfully said, “The best yet to come.”

Hollywood’s Racial Disparity

While we celebrate with Angela Bassett this achievement, it is important to note that the Academy and the industry still have some work to do. Of a multitude of talented Black actresses, only ten of them have been deemed worthy of the award. It is not for lack of talent but rather a lack of opportunity. To quote the legendary actress Viola Davis, “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Amidst the many cries about the wage gap between Black actresses and White actresses, Angela Bassett’s speech is a call to action for the industry. A call to see the talent of Black actresses. A call to give Black actresses their awards. And a call to pay them what they are owed.

Author

  • Praise Vandeh

    Praise Okeoghene Vandeh is a Culture writer with a Bachelors degree in History and International Studies. She is also a Nora Ephron alumnus. Praise is a feminist who is passionate about women causes and has founded a non profit called Project Give The Girls which aims at eradicating period poverty. When she is not writing or advocating for women’s rights, you can find her reading, watching sitcoms or bantering on twitter.

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