Alluring audiences with emotionally tinged performances has been the signature of Angela Bassett, who personifies a sense of dignity and pride whenever she appears on the screen. Her talent and abilities as an actress, director, and executive producer in both television and film have garnered well-deserved respect and acclaim from peers and fans; proving her to be one of the industry’s premier leading ladies.
After a stellar season starring in Ryan Coogler’s highly acclaimed BLACK PANTHER, Tom Cruise’s MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-FALLOUT, the debut of Ryan Murphy’s Fox series 9-1-1, and showcasing her directing talents in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT, Angela returned to star and executive produce the second season of Ryan Murphy’s hit Fox series 9-1-1, made a surprise appearance as Marie Laveau in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE, and lent her melodious voice to the National Geographic Channel Documentary THE FLOOD. She also starred in BUMBLEBEE as Shatter, Queen of the Decepticons, the first female robot in the Transformers franchise; and Netflix’s feature film OTHERHOOD. She recently wrapped production on the upcoming action thriller GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE.
Recently, Angela received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in Netflix’s hit series MASTER OF NONE opposite Lena Waithe. She also received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries for her work as Marie Laveau in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN as well as for her work as Desiree Dupree in the carnival-themed AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW. A fan-favorite in the popular horror anthology series, she joined the directing team of FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ROANOKE while simultaneously appearing as a member of the all-star cast; and appeared as Ramona Royale in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL alongside Lady Gaga, Sarah Paulson, and Matt Bomer.
Angela was nominated for her first DGA Award for her directorial debut of Lifetime’s film WHITNEY; a biopic that chronicled the loving and tumultuous relationship between Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. The film premiered to stellar ratings and reviews, and with 4.5 million viewers, became Lifetime’s most-watched telecast in over a year. She also directed an episode on water issues for National Geographic Channel’s innovative new series BREAKTHROUGH, an anthology about leading scientists from across the globe and their cutting-edge, life-changing innovations and advancements. Other directors joining Angela included Paul Giamatti, Peter Berg, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, and Brett Ratner.
Angela reprised her role as Lynne Jacobs in LONDON HAS FALLEN, the sequel to OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, alongside Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman. She also appeared in Spike Lee’s film, CHIRAQ for Amazon Studios; and writer/director Stephen Poliakoff’s mini-series CLOSE TO THE ENEMY for BBC 2 alongside Jim Sturgess, Freddie Highmore, Charlotte Riley, and Alfred Molina.
Always expanding the many facets of her talents, Angela ventured into a new entertainment medium as the lead character in the highly acclaimed first-person shooter video game franchise TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX SIEGE. She will star as a Decepticon tracker in Paramount’s upcoming TRANSFORMERS spinoff BUMBLEBEE, narrates National Geographic’s critically-acclaimed Natural History Special THE FLOOD, for which she recently earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Narrator. Angela also continues to lend her voice to Netflix’s animated series, BOJACK HORSEMAN alongside Will Arnett and Amy Sedaris.
Angela was seen in director James McTeigue’s SURVIVOR opposite Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, and Milla Jovovich; and in Gregg Araki’s WHITEBIRD IN A BLIZZARD opposite Shailene Woodley. She returned to the musical genre in Fox Searchlight’s film BLACK NATIVITY opposite Forest Whitaker for director Kasi Lemmons; and received a SAG Award Nomination for her work as Coretta Scott King in the Lifetime movie BETTY AND CORETTA.
Perhaps best known for her intense portrayal of Tina Turner in the biopic WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT opposite Laurence Fishburne, Angela earned the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, and an Academy Award nomination for her powerful performance.
Angela first made the successful crossover to the silver screen when she appeared in a small but rich role as the ambitious single mother who sends her son to live with his father in John Singleton’s BOYZ N THE HOOD. Other memorable roles include, Terry McMillan’s WAITING TO EXHALE co-starring Whitney Houston, Kathryn Bigelow’s futuristic STRANGE DAYS with Ralph Fiennes, VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN opposite Eddie Murphy, and SUPERNOVA with James Spader. She also starred as Violetta Wallace, mother of slain rapper, Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” in NOTORIOUS.
Angela has received eleven NAACP Image Awards for her performances in films such as BLACK NATIVITY; HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Taye Diggs; THE SCORE opposite Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando; MUSIC OF THE HEART with Meryl Streep; MALCOLM X opposite Denzel Washington; CONTACT opposite Jodie Foster; BOSEMAN AND LENA with Danny Glover; and television movies and shows such as RUBY’S BUCKET OF BLOOD and ER. She also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for her performance in RUBY’S BUCKET OF BLOOD and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Movie for her work in THE ROSA PARKS STORY.
Angela received critical raves for her touching performance as Katherine Jackson in the ABC mini-series THE JACKSONS: AN AMERICAN DREAM; an Emmy nomination for the UNCLE JED’S BARBERSHOP episode of PBS’ Storytime; and critical nods for narrating the PBS miniseries, AFRICANS IN AMERICA. Angela’s other notable television roles have included the final season of NBC’s hit primetime series ER, as Dr. Cate Banfield, and a recurring role in ABC’s hit drama series ALIAS.
Nominations and awards aside, one of the most gratifying moments of her career was the opportunity to merge faith and talent when she gave voice to various characters in the best-selling audiobook, THE BIBLE EXPERIENCE.
Beginning her career on stage and continuing there to this day, this Yale School of Drama graduate completed several productions on and off-Broadway, such as MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM; COLORED PEOPLE’S TIME; HENRY IV, PART I; JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE; and BLACK GIRL. She returned to the stage in 1998 to star opposite Alec Baldwin in MACBETH at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York; in 2005 starred with her husband, Courtney B. Vance, in the North American Premier production of John Guare’s stage adaptation of HIS GIRL FRIDAY and THE FRONT PAGE at the historic Guthrie Theater; and received rave reviews for her work with Laurence Fishburne in August Wilson’s classic play FENCES at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse. Angela also starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the Broadway premiere of Katori Hall’s play THE MOUNTAINTOP. This Olivier Award-winning play was a gripping reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Angela and her husband, actor Courtney B. Vance co-wrote the book, FRIENDS: A LOVE STORY. The inspirational book is the real-life love story of Bassett and Vance, who were friends for many years before marrying. The couple resides outside of Los Angeles with their 13-year-old twins, Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah.
Getting To Know Angela Bassett : Women’s Empowerment 2020 was originally published on thelightnc.com