Angela Bassett goes into the Oscars as a supporting actress nominee for her work in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The first and last time she was nominated was 29 years ago for “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
On Wednesday night, she recalled her early days in Hollywood. “When I came into this business, the path was not clear,” Bassett said while being honored at Time magazine’s Women of the Year gala at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. “I grew up at a time when it was a special occasion when people who looked like me were featured on the television screen or movie screen or in the theaters. But it was women like Rosalind and Ruby Dee and Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson, whose perseverance and resilience led me to have courage — courage to stay the course no matter what the obstacles.”
Fellow honoree Quinta Brunson spoke about the importance of laughter in her life. “It’s hard to put into words what I feel when I watch somebody have a good laugh. I mean a good one, a genuine one that a person can’t hold in,” the “Abbot Elementary” star said.
She continued, “Life is hard, very very hard — from trying to pay rent, to raising children, to extreme global tragedies to what could be considered small tragedies in our personal lives. I experienced a lot of death last year…while I was making “Abbott” and winning awards and all that, even today my uncle just passed away, but I’m here. These are tragedies. Things happen and we push them aside to come together to be with each other in these rooms.
“I, myself, have had extreme lows amongst my highs, lows that have left me wondering, ‘How do we go on?’” Brunson said. “But then I’ll find myself with a good friend who tells a good joke and I’ll laugh and suddenly I can go on.”
Other honorees in attendance included Cate Blanchett, soccer player Megan Rapinoe, Pakistani climate activist Ayisha Siddiqa, Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad, Ukrainian women’s and LGBTQ rights activist Olena Shevchenko, Somali boxer and model Ramla Ali and Mexican activist Veronica Cruz Sanchez.
Honoree Phoebe Bridgers closed the evening with a two-song set.
The guest list included Rita Morena, Courtney B. Vance, Tiffany Haddish, Brooke Shields, Nicole Avant, Milck, Yvonne Orji, Anita Hill, podcast host Ashley Flowers, Kat Graham, Halston Sage and Olivia Culpo.
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