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Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Soho House

06 July 2020
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Friends Gugu Mbatha-Raw MBE and Amma Asante MBE first worked together on the acclaimed and multi-award-winning, 2013 period drama film Belle, which Asante directed and Mbatha-Raw starred in as Dido Elizabeth Belle. Dubbed Britain’s ‘first Black aristocrat’, Belle was the mixed race, illegitimate daughter of a naval officer, Sir John Lindsay, and an enslaved African woman named Maria Bell. In 1772, Belle’s great-uncle, Lord Mansfield, in his capacity as Lord Chief Justice, ruled that slavery had no precedent in common law in England. The film’s themes feel particularly pertinent in this politically charged climate, which saw a statue of 17th-century slave trader, Edward Colston, toppled in Bristol at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in the UK. 

Since then, Mbatha-Raw has forged a critically lauded career built on championing strong, Black female narratives. She starred in the first-ever $100m film to be helmed by an African-American woman, Ava DuVernay’s Wrinkle In Time in 2018. She also portrayed the first Black Miss World – Jennifer Hosten, ‘Miss Grenada’ – in Misbehaviour, and received much awards attention for the Apple TV+ hit, The Morning Show. Now, Mbatha-Raw is set to release World War II movie Summerland by Olivier Award-winning playwright, Jessica Swale, as well as the Marvel series Loki, alongside Tom Hiddleston.

Although other upcoming projects may have taken a hiatus due to COVID-19, Mbatha-Raw has been spending her enforced period of inactivity avidly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Via the Instagram-based venture, Still We Rise, she has been auctioning her own artworks of two African Americans who tragically lost their lives to police violence, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Proceeds go to charities that support social justice, including Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice Initiative, Movement for Black Lives and the Bail Project.

Ahead of the release of Summerland, the Black British powerhouses – Mbatha-Raw in LA and Asante in Denmark – caught up during the last few days of lockdown. Their frank and personal conversation encompasses protests, Britain’s past and, at this very necessary junction, their prescient hopes for the future.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw: ‘When I saw the statue of Edward Colston being pulled down, I was thinking, “My gosh, if Belle was to come out now, would it be received in a different way?”’

Amma Asante: ‘I sincerely think it would be received in a way that it should have in the first place. The film was about love in so many ways, but it was actually also asking some very powerful questions about today. When I saw that statue being pulled down, I unfortunately couldn’t hide my excitement on social media. My delight was evident.’

GMR: ‘I don’t agree with the statues being glorified, obviously. But I also think that we can’t erase the past. I think you have to be able to know the scars of history to learn from it. If there hadn’t been a painting of Belle, then we wouldn’t have known about her.’

AA: ‘That was the evidence of who she was.’

GMR: ‘And we still need the evidence – we can’t erase all the negative, and then it just disappears and we forget what happened.’

AA: ‘I think we should put them where they belong, which is in museums. Once these relics are put in museums, then more nuanced conversations can occur. If you are Black, walking through your town centre and your four-year-old daughter says, “Who’s he? Why is he up there?”, how do you explain it?’

GMR: ‘There’s no context. I think that’s the thing about at least putting it in a museum.’

AA: ‘It’s so important to how we understand who we are. To own who we have been is the only way to truly be able to celebrate the things that are worth celebrating and change the things that weren’t. I hope that is where the conversations will land us.’ [More at Source]

Audio: Gugu on “The Big Ticket with Marc Malkin” Podcast

23 June 2020
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Audio: Gugu on “Can’t Stop Watching” Podcast

23 June 2020
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Gallery Update: ‘Misbehaviour’ Movie Screencaptures

16 April 2020
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Misbehaviour was released yesterday on most VOD services online. I’ve updated the gallery with high quality screencaptures of Gugu looking like the true queen she is.

Audio: Gugu Featured on Gucci Podcast

10 March 2020
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Gugu was featured on Gucci’s podcast in an episode that was released last week, the synopsis is as follow:

In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw MBE joins in conversation with activist and writer Scarlett Curtis.
Together these remarkable women dive into their thoughts on feminism, ongoing cultural and global issues, and touch on why Gugu is drawn to roles that start conversations more than others. Listen to this remarkable female duo question the process of categorising oneself, expectations for actors to be activists and the importance of starting new dialogue.

Photos: “Misbehaviour” London Premiere

10 March 2020
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I’ve updated the gallery with photos of Gugu attending the world premiere of “Misbehaviour” in London last night.

Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Harper Bazaar UK!

02 March 2020
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Opening the 1970 Miss World contest, the presenter Bob Hope was in a particularly ebullient mood. “I’m very, very happy to be here at this cattle market…” he leered to the tittering audience. “Moooooo!”

His enjoyment was short-lived; moments later, the clatter of a football rattle resounded around the Royal Albert Hall, and the stage was invaded by outraged women protestors, hurling flour and stink bombs. They forced the obnoxious Hope to flee from the set and disrupted the BBC’s broadcast in what has come to be seen as a watershed moment for feminism.

“I watched the whole ceremony and it’s shocking, particularly the bit where the women all have to turn round to show their bottoms…” says Gugu Mbatha-Raw, over lunch at a smart Marylebone restaurant. “It definitely makes you realise quite how far we’ve come.”

This particular Miss World contest is the subject of Gugu’s thought-provoking new drama, Misbehaviour. She takes the role of Jennifer Hosten, who, as Miss Grenada, became the first black woman to win the Miss World crown. “I came to [the part] with an air of judgement, of, oh, you know, beauty queens,” she admits, “but I’ve become more open-minded as to what that represents. I think it’s very easy now to look back and say, ‘Why would you do that? It’s so superficial.’ What’s interesting is that rebellion can often be a luxury.” For her research into the film, Gugu visited Grenada to talk to Hosten. “She’s in her seventies now, and she’s got such a regal presence, such posture, these bright, bright eyes – she’s very demure, quite proper but very centred.
“It was amazing to meet her and find out about a moment in her life all that time ago that really informed all her opportunities and choices. She felt like she was an ambassador for her country, and she was breaking boundaries in her own way.” Hosten went on to be appointed Grenada’s High Commissioner to Canada. Meanwhile, just a few days before we meet, the Miss World title is awarded to Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica, meaning that in 2019, for the first time ever, all major beauty titles have been won by black women. “Optics are so powerful: who gets to be celebrated?” says Gugu.

Distractingly beautiful herself, and appearing far younger than her 36 years, Gugu has an unselfconscious freshness that could not be further from a beauty queen’s manicured perfection. She has come to our lunch straight from a yoga class and arrives dressed down in a monochrome ensemble of jeans, a scarf and an embellished rollneck from Sézane. “This is as jazzy as I normally get,” she confesses. “My wardrobe is mostly black because I dress up for a living, and it makes me feel calm and neutral.

The waiter, who can clearly recognise star quality when he sees it, rushes up with a menu, and she studies it with frank delight, eventually settling on potato ravioli and sea-bass with champagne sauce, and diving for the bread basket. “Ooh! It’s warm!” she exclaims, then complains vociferously about the inadequate dinner served at a celebrity event we both attended recently.

In short, Gugu is one of those rare people to whom it is easy to warm immediately. Perhaps this attribute is why she doesn’t always shy away from less sympathetic roles; on the contrary, she appears to revel in them. “You can’t always be the goodie everyone’s rooting for,” she says, laughing. [More on Source]

News: Gugu Mbatha-Raw Joins “Loki” Marvel Series On Disney+

12 February 2020
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EXCLUSIVE: Coming off Apple’s The Morning Show, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is heading to another streaming drama. The British actress has been cast in Loki, the Disney+ series starring Tom Hiddleston as the trickster demi-god and brother to Thor, I have learned.

As is the case with every Marvel project, details about Mbatha-Raw’s role are under wraps, but I hear it is a prominent character, described as the female lead. In addition to Hiddleston, the only actor who has been confirmed by Marvel/Disney, Mbatha-Raw joins fellow cast members Owen Wilson and Sophia Di Martino in the series. Marvel had no comment.

In the new Marvel Studios series, Hiddleston returns as the mercurial Loki, the Asgardian god of mischief and everyone’s favorite Marvel villain, in stories that take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. with There likely will be a tie-in to the May 2021 supernatural sequel Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Mbatha-Raw was a series regular on the first season of Apple TV+ drama series The Morning Show, starring opposite Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. On the big screen, she most recently starred in Motherless Brooklyn, alongside Edward Norton and Willem Dafoe. She will next be seen in the British comedy-drama Misbehaviour, starring alongside Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley, and in Come Away, starring opposite Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo. Additionally, she has completed production on World War II drama Summerland. [Source]

Photos: 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards & After Party

06 January 2020
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Happy new year everyone!

Gugu stepped out yesterday in a gorgeous Gucci dress styled by Leith Clark to attend the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards where The Morning Show was nominated then attended the Annual Instyle & WB After Party. I’ve updated the gallery with photos of both events.

 

2020 > 05 January – 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards
2020 > 05 January – InStyle and Warner Bros Golden Globes After Party