Letitia Wright: 8 Things You Might Not Know About The Black Panther Star

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Letitia Wright - Black Panther

Through her breakout performances in Black Panther and Black Mirror, British actress Letitia Wright has proven herself to be a dynamic young performer with great promise and exceptional potential. Certainly, her standout role in the immensely successful Marvel blockbuster should hopefully book her several high-profile roles in the years to come, and it’s very exciting to watch this bright talent rise ever higher. As her star power only continues to grow, let’s take this moment to note some interesting facts about the up-and-coming actress. Here’s what you should know about Letitia Wright.

Rihanna - "Wild Thoughts" Music Video

Letitia Wright’s Influences Include Rihanna, Viola Davis, And Naomie Harris

Like many young performers, Letitia Wright has her idols. When Elle asked the actress about her female role models, she listed musician Rihanna and fashion designer Stella McCartney. Additionally, in a separate interview, Wright also noted that Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, and Michael B. Jordan, her Black Panther co-star, were also acting inspirations. She also revealed to Refinery29 that 2006’s Akeelah and the Bee, which gave Keke Palmer her big break in the title role, was the film and performance that persuaded Wright to pursue dramatic arts at a young, impressionable age.

Letitia Wright - Black Panther

Letitia Wright Won the NAACP Image Award For Outstanding Breakthrough Performance For Her Role In Black Panther

Already on the rise as a young starlet, Letitia Wright’s outstanding supporting turn in Black Panther was the actress’ calling card for a promising future ahead. In a film filled with great talents, her performance is a radiant standout, filled with wit, humor, and great personality, and the NAACP recognized her work by giving her an Image Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance. Certainly, this distinction is earned. Even in a film as great as Black Panther, which features strong performances from Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Andy Serkis, and the tragically late Chadwick Boseman, Wright’s strong, dynamic character work showcases an exceptionally gifted and personable performer who is destined to provide many great performances in the years to come. Certainly, we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next.

Letitia Wright - Black Mirror

She Credits Christianity For Helping Her Overcome Depression In Her Early 20s

In her earlier years, as she was coming into her own as a promising up-and-coming actress, Letitia Wright admits that she found herself battling depression. As she explained in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2018, she found herself “in the dark going through so many bad things” in her early 20s and she fought great difficulties while trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully, the actress claims she overcame these intensely depressed feelings when she discovered Christianity. Through this practice of devotion, Wright was given a new lease on life and found contentment and joy following one of the darkest chapters of her life. She discovered her practice of faith when she attended a London actors’ Bible study meeting. It was at this point that Wright went on an introspective spiritual journey.

Letitia Wright - Black Mirror

She Declined Roles And Took A Break From Acting To Focus On Her Faith

While many young and talented performers work hard to put themselves out there and make a name for themselves in their early 20s, Letitia Wright’s journey through Christianity ultimately came first. While she was proving herself to be a dynamic and distinguished actress, she admitted in an interview with This Morning that she turned down some promising roles to focus inward and examine and strengthen her faith and her commitments to God. 

This devotion to faith is surprising, but considering how valuable Wright found it during her darkest period, she clearly values her relationship with God over her career ambitions. Through this period of reflection through religion, Wright appears to be more confident and content with herself, her desires in life, and her goals moving forward. Here’s what she said in this interview (via Relevant Magazine):

I needed to take a break from acting, because I really idolized it. So I came off from it and I went on a journey to discover my relationship with God, and I became a Christian. It really just gave me so much love and light within myself. I felt secure, like I didn’t need validation from anyone else, or getting a part. My happiness wasn’t dependent on that, it was dependent on my relationship with God.

Letitia Wright - Black Panther

At 15, She Emailed The Biggest Agencies In The World Asking To Represent Her … And It Worked

It’s not easy to get your foot in the door. Working your way into the entertainment industry is tough business, and it requires a lot of persistence and fortitude in addition to talent to make it into the competitive and demanding world of professional acting. At 15, with limited resources at her disposal, Letitia Wright needed to get her name out there if she wanted to excel as an actress, but she didn’t have the means to hire an agent or a manager. She had to be resourceful and demonstrate her exceptionalism in less cost-heavy ways. What did she do? She wrote a lot of emails. Specifically, she told W Magazine that she emailed the biggest casting directors, promoting herself and hoping to garner the attention of some notable talent-seekers. Sure enough, it actually worked.

Letitia Wright - Black Panther

Letitia Wright Wants To Create Space For Black Women To Succeed in The Film Industry

As a prominent young Black actress, Letitia Wright understands the personal and historic significance of her ongoing fame and success. As she continues to find more acclaim and personal triumphs, she wants to make sure these opportunities continue to be found for Black performers in the industry. In an interview with Elle (via Daily Mail), Wright discussed the foundation that needs to be build and continued being built for Black entertainers in the years ahead. And she wants to do her part to “create space” and allow Black artists to flourish in their respective mediums. Here’s what she said:

We have to be that solid foundation for each other… But, the funny thing is, if you actually step aside from that mentality and go, no, there’s space for all of us [to succeed], we just have to keep building a wall. The bricks at the bottom have to be laid first before the bricks on the second row can be laid. So, if you say, OK, you lay your brick there, and I’ll lay my brick in the next two months. ‘Let me make sure that your brick that’s laid is good and solid and paid well… Then, soon, you have a wall. Yes, I stole that from Will Smith. ‘I’ve listened to that since I was 16, but he has a point: we have to be bricks, we have to be that solid foundation for each other or else what’s the point?’

Chadwick Boseman, Letitia Wright - Black Panther

Letitia Wright Improvised One of Black Panther’s Best Lines

There are several quotable lines sprinkled throughout Black Panther, though Letitia Wright gets one of the best ones. Towards the third act, when T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) brings Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) to Wright’s Shuri to be healed, the actress quips, “Great! Another broken white boy for us to fix!” It’s a very punchy, funny line, and according to the actress, it was actually her suggestion. As she admitted in an interview with Yahoo, she asked director Ryan Coogler if she could throw that line into the mix. Thankfully, Coogler thought it was “perfect” and told her to say it. It was a good thing he did, too. This line is easily among the film’s most memorable and enjoyable, and it helps make Wright’s entertaining character even more charming and endearing that she already was during the film’s earlier moments.

Letitia Wright - Mangrove

She Is Already Getting Great Reviews For Her Performance In Steve McQueen’s Upcoming Miniseries, Small Axe

The future is looking bright for Letitia Wright. In addition to all the exciting roles lined up in her future, including the upcoming Hold Back the Stars with John Boyega, she’s slated to star in Steve McQueen’s highly-praised mini-series, Small Axe, which hits Amazon Prime on November 20th. In the first installment, titled Mangrove, Wright plays Altheia Jones-LeCointe, who became a leader of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s. This introductory film premiered at the New York Film Festival prior to its streaming debut, and this performance was hailed as “great” and “powerful” by critics who’ve seen the movie. These reviews certainly aren’t surprising. Best known for Shame, Widows, and 12 Years a Slave, McQueen is one of our great contemporary directors, and he gave Wright a great opportunity to shine.

Do you love Letitia Wright? Are you looking forward to seeing what’s next from the Black Panther actress? Let us know in the comment section!

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October 12, 2020

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