“I guess I’ve joked about this,” said Angela Bassett with a note of laughter in her voice as we spoke, “But I am every woman. It’s all in me.”
As Bassett said those words I envisioned her as Bernadine Harris, confidently strutting away from a burning car in Waiting to Exhale and thought, “Yes, she is absolutely right.” The legendary actress can embody a jilted wife as easily as a no-nonsense patrol sergeant, a musical icon, the queen of an African nation and a passionate civil rights leader. Not too many actors can pull off such convincing and powerful portrayals of these diverse characters—and of course, these examples only scratch the surface.
I had the great fortune of speaking with Bassett, who is now partnering with Know Diabetes by Heart, a joint initiative between the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. During our chat, the 62-year-old actress and director opened up about her most iconic roles, her involvement in HBO’s Tina documentary and her thoughts on Black Panther 2.