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DAR Films: 6 Definitive Angela Bassett Roles

By @TrueGodImmortal

Angela Bassett is probably the best actress of all time, if I could say so. She was something special from the moment she stepped on the screen and in her earlier years, she would light up the scene like no other. In recent years, she has been on a bit of a cruise control vibe with her films, but her roles are still executed beautifully. From her roles in American Horror Story to her smaller role in Black Panther as the mother of T'Challa, Angela maintains her legacy well, and she seems content with adding to her resume in smaller roles and in big budget productions. With that being said, the question is, what are the defining roles in her career? Let's take a look at the 6 defining roles in her career.

*Voletta Wallace

-So, Angela plays Biggie's mom in the biopic, and it was a strange casting in many ways. She doesn't really look like Biggie's mother, but she does bring the accent necessary and the powerful performance to drive home just how important his mother was to him and the role she played. This is far from my favorite role for Angela, but when we look back at the roles she has played in her career, this is one of the most noteworthy and indicative of where she was heading in her career as the years were passing. Angela does a great job in this role and is probably the best part of the entire film, which was a bit disappointing anyways if we are honest besides her.

*Stella Payne
(How Stella Got Her Groove Back)

-So, let me first admit that I'm not a fan of this movie and I was only forced to watch it once years after it released. Now, I'll be honest and say that while I'm not fond of this movie too much, I do enjoy Angela here, as she nails a role that requires her to be slightly more free flowing and even comedic in spurts when need be. She shines in this role, finding entertaining ways to play the shy yet willing woman that desires a younger man and she receives that from a character played by Taye Diggs. Angela as Stella is her second biggest role as the lead actress so it is noteworthy for sure, and it has to be mentioned. The movie itself wasn't critically acclaimed too much, but the performance from Angela is one of her most important and well known roles without question.

*Betty Shabazz 
(Malcolm X)

-When you need someone to play a historical woman, is there any better option than Angela? That's the beauty of her acting legacy in a way. She has a ton of roles that do not call for her to play such heavy roles, but ehenever there is a movie that requires grace, poise, and someone who can nail the role of a powerful woman, she should always be the first choice. Starring alongside the legendary Denzel Washington as his wife and partner, Angela owns the role with conviction, emotion, and an ability to be a huge centerpiece of the film, and that she was. I think Angela shined the brightest when she would express her concerns to Denzel as Malcolm, as the empathy and honesty that came from Betty could only be delivered by an actress as powerful as Angela. There is no one who could have executed this role like she did and it stands easily as one of her greatest roles.

*Katherine Jackson
(The Jacksons: An American Dream)

-So, if there was ever a movie or miniseries that is underrated, it is this one. Angela was in rare form playing the heart and soul of the Jackson family, and she exhibited the right emotions and the right amount of pain with balanced happiness. The most memorable part of this performance comes when Angela has to showcase her hurt finding out that her husband cheated on her and she simply delivers the powerful "I don't want you, I don't want you, I don't want you" with tears streaming down her face, as Joe Jackson (played by Lawrence Hilton Jacobs) tries to calm her down. It was a moment that sticks out in her acting career and is probably the most powerful moment of the miniseries/movie. Another iconic performance from Angela.

*Bernadine Harris
(Waiting To Exhale)

-So, I have watched Waiting To Exhale twice and it is not on my list of favorite black movies for a few reasons. One, I can't actually relate to the movie, and two, the soundtrack is better than the actual movie. However, Angela was in her prime during this film, one as an actress and from an aesthetic standpoint, she looked amazing in this film. Her character is scorned and hurt, and as a result, she ends up setting things on fire literally, which is an iconic scene in black cinema. Her character was essentially the bitter woman of the movie, but her emotion and anger was delivered so well that you overlook the bitterness and appreciate the performance. Angela was at the top of her game during this movie for sure.

*Tina Turner 
(What's Love Got To Do With It)

-The essential role of her career. Angela was at her best when she plays powerful women and it doesn't get much more powerful than one of the most iconic singers ever in Tina Turner. However, the truth of the matter is, Angela is an even better Tina Turner than the actual Tina. That might be confusing, but there is something about Angela as Tina that jumps out as more charismatic and endearing than the real Tina. Alongside Laurence Fishburne, who was excellent as Ike Turner, Angela was honestly mind blowing in her true to life portrayal of Tina and of all the roles and movies she has participated in, there is nothing more important to her acting legacy than this role. Angela as Tina is one of those landmark moments and portrayals in film history without question.


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