Acclaimed actress Angela Bassett is fearless on screen, but there were challenging moments early on in her life that put her on the receiving end of sexual harassment.
Bassett opened up to Variety and talked one-on-one with actress Laura Dern for “Actors on Actors” presented by Shutterstock, about her difficult #MeToo moment and how jealousy undermined her relationship with an old beau when her career started to take off.
About early sexual harassment experiences, Bassett said it was hard for her mom to accept and digest.
“I remember years later I tried to bring it up to my mother, and she was like, ‘I don’t want to talk about that,’” Bassett said.
“As a grown woman, I thought she was strong in that moment because she took a stand for me and made sure it never happened again. But I think as a mother, now that I put myself in her shoes, it would have been such a moment of personal shame.”
Being transparent about her experiences and her journey into becoming a venerable actress who have played icons like Rosa Parks and Tina Turner, Bassett said after finishing film school she struggled to get jobs as her then partner’s career took off.
But once she moved from NYC to LA, Bassett said she started to become successful. That’s when she admits her partner at the time tried to take her shine by saying she was getting roles because of him. When that happened, Bassett said she clapped back.
“I remember him saying ‘the only reason you got that is because of me.’ And I remember saying. Uh, uhh…you can’t define who I am!”
You tell em Auntie!
“You know. I believe that everyone has a gift and a talent and this one I own as my own,” said Bassett who played Queen Mother of Wakanda and is now married to fellow actor Courtney B. Vance.