Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Refinery29
01 March 2018Posted by Mouza with 0 Comments
In Hollywood, Black female actresses have been typecast since the beginning. There’s the sassy sidekick, the around-the-way girl, and of course, the mammie, usually found in a period drama set during slavery or the Civil Rights era. It’s a dynamic that’s only recently started to change, thanks to a renaissance in Black television (Shondaland shows, Insecure, Atlanta) and social media movements like #OscarsSoWhite calling out a lack of diversity in film.
But somehow, during a period when the entertainment industry failed to support both people of color and women, Gugu Mbatha-Raw has quietly been breaking barriers for years. She’s a Black woman who managed to escape the expected archetypes, a chameleon who has played everyone from the lead officer on a space mission to a bisexual beachtown party girl to an animated feather duster. A veteran of British television and theater, Mbatha-Raw broke into Hollywood in 2013 as the shy, mixed-race 18th century hero of the movie Belle, and became known for her poised and powerful performances.
Since then, she’s starred in nearly a dozen major movies. But it’s 2018 that is finally the year of Gugu: Before the end of March, she will have starred in four films — including Disney’s big-budget, Ava Duvernay-directed adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time.“I guess you could call this my ‘moment,’ but that doesn’t seem fair, because I’ve worked really hard my entire career!” Mbatha-Raw says slowly. She has a habit of taking a few beats to thoughtfully consider her responses before answering. “As an actor, you have power over your performance, but no power over the distribution or timetable. So it just so happens this is all coming out at the same time. But I guess I should embrace the ride!” [More at source]