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Star Power: Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira really embodies the phrase "Black is beautiful"! With her many achievements over the course of the year, Gurira is surely on her way to becoming a Broadway favorite and a television star!

Published April 14th

2001

She’s Got the Degrees to Back It Up
She’s Got the Degrees to Back It Up

Gurira is more than just a pretty face. She's serious about her studies, too, earning a psychology degree from Minnesota's Macalester College and an MFA in acting from New York University.

2004

Career Goals
Career Goals

The Walking Dead’s Dana Gurira is a force to be reckoned with. From writing plays to headlining indie films and major television shows, this Zimbabwean-American actress is one star who continues to shine bright. We cannot wait to see what the future brings for her.

2010

Reporting on Treme
Reporting on Treme

While Gurira has guest starred on numerous Law and Order series and other TV shows, HBO’s Treme was one of the first times she was a recurring character. During the 2010-2011 season, she played Jill, a Village Voice reporter covering NOLA after Hurricane Katrina. Of course she nailed it! 

2012

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead

While Gurira has a few films and plays under her belt, she is most known for her kickass portrayal of The Walking Dead’s Michonne. Since 2012, this ultimate fan favorite slays every zombie that comes in her path with a samurai sword. Each week, Michonne leaves us breathless.

2013

Indie Queen
Indie Queen

Always committed to depicting Africans, in 2013, Gurira stunned in the award-winning film Mother of George, playing a Nigerian immigrant navigating her way in Brooklyn, NY. She won rave reviews and the film won best cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.

2015

Eclipsed
Eclipsed

Gurira can slay with a sword and a pen, as we see with her 2016 Broadway play Eclipsed. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed is about a group of Liberian women who are all slaves to a military general. The emotional and riveting play has been seen by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and is a New York Times critic’s pick.  

2015

Get Familiar
Get Familiar

She isn’t stopping with Eclipsed. Gurira’s new play Familiar just started playing off-Broadway in early 2016. Taking place in Minnesota, the play is about a Zimbabwean family preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, a first-generation American. But when the bride insists on observing a traditional African custom, it opens a deep rift in the household.

2016

Video Game Diva
Video Game Diva

This year, Gurira’s iconic character is being immortalized in Telltale’s newest video game, The Walking Dead: Michonne. We follow Michonne on her emotional journey as she finds herself in the zombie apocalypse. So dope! Can’t wait to play!

2016

Tupac Back
Tupac Back

From African immigrant to living in the zombie apocalypse, Gurira has amazing range as an actress. And soon Gurira will be playing Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, in the upcoming biopic All Eyez on Me, out in September, 2016.  She is going to kill it!

2016

Give More and Receive More
Give More and Receive More

While Gurira was born in Iowa, her family moved to Zimbabwe when she was five and she later moved back to the States for college. Always staying connected to her upbringing, she started the organization Almasi Collaborative Arts, which teaches Africans how to use art to tell their own stories. Black Girls Rock! is glad to recognize this talented woman by honoring her with the Star Power Award!