Getty ImagesStefanie Keenan
Angela Bassett needs no introduction. For years, Bassett has been a force on screens, embodying a plethora of strong women like Tina Turner in the 1993 drama What’s Love Got to Do With It and making history alongside Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Michael B. Jordan in this year’s box office smash, Black Panther. Still, with all thatsuccess under her belt, the multifaceted actress made it a point at ELLE’s Women in Hollywood to use her stage time to not only salute other women in Hollywood, but women everywhere.
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“When we aren’t in our gowns and we aren’t on the sets of our films and television shows or behind the camera, we all share the common beauty, complexity, and significance of being a woman,” Bassett told the crowd. “It’s been an interesting time to be a woman, hasn’t it?”
It has, actually. This year alone, the rise of the #MeToo movement prompted many women to come forward with their own personal accounts of sexual harassment, most notably fellow ELLE Women in Hollywood honoree Anita Hill, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who bravely stood before senators to accuse Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
But even though sometimes it can all seem like a useless fight, Bassett encouraged the crowd to remain optimistic because “we are going to win in every way imaginable, but we have to do it together.”
Below, read an extended excerpt of Angela Bassett’s Women in Hollywood speech:
Thank you to Nina Garcia and the entire ELLE team for honoring Danai, Lupita, and myself with this beautiful cover and for recognizing our contributions to Black Panther in this way. Although this event celebrates women in Hollywood, I think it goes further, and even a step beyond in celebrating women. When we aren’t in our gowns and we aren’t on the sets of our films and television shows or behind the camera, we all share the common beauty, complexity, and significance of being a woman. It’s been an interesting time to be a woman, hasn’t it? There have been times where despite the many blessed successes, I thought long and hard about what if things change and what it would take to make that change. But then I think about the women who came before us, those who endured, those who overcame so that we can live, work, and succeed, thrive, love, and win. And as I stand here tonight, we are going to win in every way imaginable, but we have to do it together. We women are a nation of powerful beings and you know when we put our minds and our hearts together, we are unstoppable. When I think about all that we are capable of, I’m reminded of a most appropriate sentiment from Black Panther: In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way, we must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe. I accept this tremendous honor in the spirits of my sheroes—my mother, Betty Jane, my aunt Golden, and my daughter, Bronwyn who I remind every day that she is worthy and she is enough. We are all enough, and together we stand strong, proud, determined, resilient, and unsilenced. In the words of Queen Ramonda, I say, ‘Sincerely, my queens, it is your time.” Thank you.