theGrio’s 100: Danai Gurira, butt-kicking black heroine on ‘The Walking Dead’

Who is Danai Gurira?

Danai Gurira, 35, is a Zimbabwean-American actress and playwright. She is best known for her breakout role as Michonne on AMC’s hit drama The Walking Dead.

Gurira was born in Grinell, Iowa in 1978, and was raised there for 3 years until she moved with her family to Harare, Zimbabwe. She is Graduate of Macalaster College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University.

She had her film debut in 2007’s The Visitor, and later appeared in Ghost Town, My Soul to Take and Restless City. In 2012 Gurira landed a spot on third season of The Walking Dead as the character Michonne.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

Since joining The Walking Dead, Gurira has become an iconic black TV heroine and stands as one of the only TV stars of color with a prominent role in an action-oriented drama.

“I think she’s an awesome character and I’m really thrilled to be stepping into her shoes, and I hope I can do her justice,” Gurira said of her role during a behind-the-scenes interview from the set of The Walking Dead. “She’s rare — you don’t come across this often.”

The season 4 premiere of The Walking Dead broke a cable series record, receiving 16.1 million viewers to become the most-watched drama series in basic cable history.

What’s next for Gurira?

Gurira most recently played the leading role in the independent drama Mother of George, which premiered last year at the Sunday Film Festival. Gurira received critical acclaim for her performance in the movie, winning the “Jean-Claude Gahd Dam” award at the 2013 Guys’ Choice Awards.

Follow Danai Gurira on Twitter at @DanaiGuriraTWD