“Black Panther” Star Letitia Wright for ELLE Magazine

Posted on October 20, 2020

In the November Issue of ELLE, on newsstands November 3, “Black Panther” star Letitia Wright opens up about racism in Hollywood, her faith in God, and the heartbreaking loss of her former costar Chadwick Boseman photographed by Marcin Kempski and styled by Jenny Kennedy.

 

 

 

On wishing she could have said good-bye to Chadwick Boseman: “I wish I got to say goodbye. I messaged you a couple of times, but I thought you were just busy. I didn’t know you were dealing with so much.” She continues: “It is also written that all things are made new, there is light in the darkness.” It echoes a line she left me with as we said goodbye on that baking-hot day. “I’m happy to be a light in the world. That’s my spirit,” she says. “I can’t be anything else. And if I am, then something’s wrong.”

On setting up her own production company, 316 Productions: “It’s an opportunity to create the roles that I didn’t see for Black women and men, or Asian people,” she says. Her first project with 316 is a short film called Things I Never Told My Father, which, she says, is intended to explore the dynamics of grief. “I saw my friend deal with the loss of his uncle, who was basically his father,” she says. “The way he dealt with it was like, ‘Damn, you’re really trying your best to grit your teeth and get through this, but you’re hurting.’ I want to make films where the subject matter is really important, and the project gives Black actors—your brothers and sisters—something to work with, a character who’s a full human being.”

On attributing much of her success to her connection with God: As her acting career took off in her late teens, she put herself under intense mental strain: “I remember analyzing every single thing. If I went on a red carpet, I’d analyze the picture. If I did an interview, I’d analyze the video. If I spent time with friends, after I left, I’d think to myself, ‘Why did I laugh like that? Why did I show teeth?’” She says when she joined the church at age 22, she was finally able to see the bigger picture. “I started to realize that, you know, it’s not about me, it’s not about how much people can validate me. I started to see the power of God and not the power of man.”

Like many others, Wright has also used her time in quarantine to contemplate her life and look inward. A fan of Guyana’s slow-paced culture, she has even considered relocating there: “It’s perfect, because if I need to go to the U.S., it’s quick. It’s not as complicated as it seems,” she tells me, sounding like she’s close to making up her mind on a move. “It’s so funny—last night, some stuff popped up on YouTube about African Americans relocating to Africa and how happy they were. I was like, ‘This is actually the way to be. Why are we fighting [racists in the U.S.]? Why are we shouting at them to give us space when we can go to our motherland and have space there?’”

 

 

Style Credits:
Image 1: Jacket and Belt by Givenchy
Image 2: Coat and Sunglasses by Balenciaga
Image 3: Jacket, Blouse, Pants, Beret and Tie by Dior | Hoop Earrings and Ring by Cartier

 

[Photo Credit: Marcin Kempski for ELLE magazine]

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