Have you seen Black Panther (the movie) yet? I saw it Friday AM. I have a theater that has reserved seating and I was so glad they did! The theater was packed! People of all ages from little kids to seniors were in that theater to see this movie. And we all loved it. I was surprised at how much I liked it and how it gave such positive lessons in the script. It’s a movie that I wouldn’t mind seeing again because the special effects were beyond amazing.
Given that I like Black Panther quite a bit, when I got an email from PR for Esquire.com (the gentleman’s website/magazine to be able to feature highlights of the interview with Winston Duke who was M’Baku:
A powerful, ruthless warrior who is the leader of Wakanda’s mountain tribe, the Jabari, who are in protest to T’Challa being the new king. Duke described the Jabari as people who “strongly believe that to move forward, you have to have a strong adherence and respect for the past. So they have a deep moral conscience.”
In the interview, Winston opens up about his scene-stealing role as M’Baku, his friendship with fellow Yale classmate and costar, Lupita Nyong’o, and how Black Panther challenges the values of Trump’s America. The quotes below are excerpted from the much longer piece on Esquire.com.
On shooting a film about the fictional African nation of Wakanda a few weeks after President Donald Trump took office:
“It’s a world that doesn’t define itself in proximity to whiteness. After that election it was like, What’s next? We went into this movie wondering, Oh my God, is the world ready for this film? Like so many people in the country, I was wondering where I stood—wondering where my narratives stood,” Duke says. “Going into that, and making this film, I just hoped and prayed that this film could be received for all that it can be.”
On going to work every day with a group of black creatives while Trump tried and failed with his immigration ban and kept shouting about building walls:
“It was a deep, wonderful respite from the current events. It challenged the national narratives of what it means to be a citizen of a country. What is your duty to a country? Do you follow it blindly? Or do you challenge your country to be better and stand up to the ideals that all men are created equal and everyone deserves equity not just equality. What kind of world do we create when we only think of ourselves and horde resources when we’re part of a global economy?”
On growing up in Trinidad and Tobago and being inspired by the stars of the Bollywood films he watched with his family on Sundays:
“At the end of the day me and my cousins would go down to the beach, and I’d make an obstacle course and we’d try to do the things we saw in the movie. I was seeing people of color growing up in my media. I was seeing them in positions of power.”
On his friendship with his Yale classmate Lupita Nyong’o, with whom he watched The Avengers and dreamed of someday being a part of a film of that magnitude:
“She and I became really close because we shared that immigrant experience. We shared the idea of having really big dreams knowing that we’d left our own country … We would always tell ourselves that they’re going to do [a black superhero movie] someday, but we could never tell who. At that point there was already the Blade films, but we really didn’t know how Marvel would go about doing their first African superhero.”
On the similarities between him and his character M’Baku:
“I could deeply identify with M’Baku in that moment. My task in that scene was to wake the world up. I was waking up Wakanda from this malaise. He’s holding them accountable to be something better. It’s not that he’s trying to return Wakanda to antiquity, but they need to remember and have reverence to their history and the culture. That’s the only way that we can make it forward.”
Extended Trailer 2 You can see Winston Duke as M’Baku at 3:41 mark on this trailer!
You can read the full story at https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a18199538/winston-duke-black-panther-m-baku-interview/.
Thanks to Esquire for allowing me to excerpt the interview for this feature. I LOVE the movie. Winston Duke was really, really good!
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