Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER Lupita Nyong’o (“Nakia”) & Danai Gurira (“Okoye”) Interview. Women in Powerful Roles
I’m super excited to share our interview with Marvel’s Black Panther Lupita Nyong’o (“Nakia”) & Danai Guira (“Okoye”). Two women that were cast in very powerful roles and one of the reason this film brought tears to my eyes. They had such an overwhelming presense on the screen they stole the show and my heart. This film will inspire women and young girl and empower them to strive for better and bigger things all while working together. I hope it encourages them to work together even if they have differences in opinion. This film will show women that we can co-exist and empower eachother.
As a mother with a daughter who is 17 and fighting to find her place in this world and struggling with a low self esteem but I see it in her to be great I know this film will speak to her as a person, actress and someone who inspires to be a Lawyer. I see these powerful women and know in my heart that they may help my daughter to see that it’s okay to be strong and it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in even if it means standing up to other women who may have a difference in opinion.
In my Review Disney/ Marvel Black Panther Movie I mentioned the overwhelming impression of power that the women who played roles in the movie left on me. I felt so proud as a women to see them cast in such strong roles and I was super excited when I seen them walk into the room excited and ready to meet the group of Disney Mom bloggers equally excited to meet them and ask them about their roles as “Nakia” and “Okoye”.
As you watch the movie you can’t help but wonder what it was like to have your head shaved and portray such power in the role of a women on the screen. When Danai Gurira(Okoye) walked into the room her semi bald head along with her huge smiled revealed a women of pride and stature.
When asked about the shaved heads of the women int his movie Danai answered with poise.
I think the beauty is, you know, it’s such a celebration and I think that that’s what’s so powerful to me about it because I don’t think as I was saying, you know, you often don’t see Africanisms celebrated and so I think that completely connects with the hair. I love what the hair department and the costume department did. They really pulled from real actual cultures and ethnic differentiations and how hair is celebrated across the continent traditionally and currently, and I think there is something really powerful about all the ways that hair was represented there because I think there are so many things that tell us the thing that tells those of African descent or people who get categorized as the other that there’s one way that they should actually manifest themselves in society in order to be accepted or acceptable.
I mean it’s an argument I still hear every time I go to Zimbabwe sometimes. It’s like oh, my god they had dreadlocks and I don’t want to go to work with dreadlocks. It’s gotten thinner and thinner but it’s something that still needs to get addressed sometimes and there’s some issues even like we thought somethings we dealt with in the 60s. We thought we got with black is beautiful. We thought we got it and we haven’t. You know, it keeps coming back sometimes so I love that there are so many manifestations of that sort of expressions and, you know, with Nakia, Nakia’s got her little knots and then she’s got a fro, you know, what I mean and then and Okoye loves her bald head and she doesn’t like to wear wigs. She said why am I wearing this thing on my head? It makes no sense.
Then there’s the scene where she’s wearing a wig…. and your like “what the.. what”. But here’s where it gets GOOD!
Question: Can we you talk about how beautiful the scene in the casino was and that red dress? It’s just amazing and the training process for that or both of you. What did you go through and how did you challenge that and still look super graceful while you were doing it. It was almost like a dance and I absolutely loved it. It’s one of my favorite scenes.
DANAI GURIRA talked about how they trained alot. She shared how great their teachers were and how they worked on different fighting styles and loved the way their moves were crafted and that there was a lot of preparation for that particular scene.
“Mine is very traditional. Hers is get the job done and so my character’s gonna pull out her spear and she’s gonna do forms that have been in Wakandan tradition for generations in this particular place and she’s just gonna take them down and smack them down you know what I mean and I just love that. I did love finding her. I always — I’m in a show where my character has a sword and that’s just an
— it’s a very — it has similar lines but it’s a very different weapon and she’s also, she’s probably more like Nakia. She’s more like getting it done, you know, whereas the idea of stepping into a character who’s connected to this traditional ancient way of moving was really amazing and I loved how they found that for each of us and then they put that into it in training and helped us and then we found it and we owned our characters around that, those movements.”
The training was a big part of getting into character because understanding how someone fights reveals a lot about, you know, what their values are and who they are and so when we were first talking about Nakia’s fighting style Ryan said to me she’s street and that was really all I needed so by any means necessary she will use any weapon. Like they don’t use guns but Nakia has no problem using guns, you know. She will use her shoe. She will use whatever. She will grab whatever it takes to get the job done and just and then that again is another way that when we put together we stand in solidarity, you know.
We occupy our own space and then going into battle together everyone has a different strength to bring to the table and I think that was a way to make fighting extremely rich, you know, and full of culture in and of itself. You know, it’s very specific.
She really loved the camera angel of the scene’s and how the action moved back and forth to both of them fighting these villains.
Her enthusiasm was undeniable and her love for her character “Okoye” shined through especially when she shared how she related to her character.
So I could really relate to that about her, about the way that she is so dedicated to her nation and so dedicated to her people and really holds, you know, responsibility, you know, the idea like to who much is given much is expected and I feel like she considers Wakanda like this gem that she has been given to perfect and so she, she really takes that on as something that is priceless and that she cannot let slip.
We asked them to talk about what it takes to bring these characters to life because it represents what we wanna see in ourselves and see on screen. Because they did it in such a authentic way even though they were acting we wanted to know, “What is your process in creating these characters?”
Well I think for both of us especially when we’re dealing with African representation in story we feel such a strong sense of responsibility and desire, deep desire to see African women on screen that look and feel like we know them to be. And so with these characters we wanted them to be women that we know and like the women that I know are complex and they’re deep and they’re about something other than just the man in their lives and so I think that was really important to us.
It was also really important to Ryan as well to have women who are standing in their own in this movie because personally and I know Danai so well because I know her so well women with agency and strength and strength does not mean an absence of vulnerability but it means that you understand, you have it in yourself to get yourself through things, you know, to seek help, you know, what I mean that is strength in itself is a very complex idea, you know, and so it was important to us that the women however, whoever and however many lines you have that you come across as being full and that’s not hard if you just, if you commit to expressing humanity and not.
And I think I commend Ryan for this because in the end his story is not about punchlines and clips and things to make it fun and enjoyable and yet it’s still fun and enjoyable but there’s an integrity to these people. You know, we really get a sense of what Wakanda’s society is like and we see a society where men and women are participating fully in the development of the nation and in so doing they’re reaching their full potential and that’s good for everybody.
Marvel BLACK PANTHER in theaters FEB 16th!
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DANAI GURIRA (“Okoye”)
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