From the first moment we saw Angela Bassett on screen, she felt like family. From her breakout role as a concerned mom in John Singleton’s Oscar winner Boyz n the Hood (1991), to her ultra-poised performances as a respected elder in two of Marvel’s biggest blockbusters Black Panther (2018), Avengers Endgame (2019), Bassett has built up an iconic resume because of her uncanny ability to make us feel every possible emotion on the screen. That’s why it’s no surprise she’s nominated for “Best Actress” at BET Awards 2021 for the 11th time overall in a career that spans nearly three decades. With over 100 credits on her IMDB page, we picked out Bassett’s five most iconic roles to remember while we wait to see if she takes home any hardware at this year’s BET Awards.
1992: Malcolm X
After catching eyes in Boyz n the Hood, Bassett was quickly cast to play one of the most important figures in American history. Always up to the task, she portrayed Betty Shabazz opposite Denzel Washington (Malcolm X) and ten years later she played another historical hero, as Rosa Parks in the CBS television movie The Rosa Parks Story.
1992: The Jacksons: An American Dream
Acting out the lives of our icons is a delicate task that Bassett has always treated with care. In the supporting role of Katherine Jackson, Bassett captured the struggles the Jackson 5 matriarch faced raising Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and the entire Jackson clan in the public spotlight. The television series won two Emmys out of five nominations and continued Bassett’s hot streak as a rising star in Hollywood.
1993: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Bassett received her first major award nod after her electric turn as musical icon Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It? Both Bassett and her former Boyz n the Hood co-star Laurence Fishburne received Best Actress and Actor Oscar nominations for powerful performances that established both as masters of their craft. As Turner, Bassett embodied the pain the singer endured in an abusive marriage with Ike Turner. Her private pain was compounded by the pressures of her public image, and Bassett made us feel every second of it. That’s not so surprising when you learn that Turner hand-picked Basset for the role and trained her personally throughout the film’s production.
1995: Waiting To Exhale
Basset joined an ensemble cast of phenomenal women including Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon in this instant classic rom-com. Tired of holding their breaths in anticipation of finding the men of their dreams, these four friends learn that it’s much more important to holding themselves and each other down than it is to stress about men. Bassett plays Bernadine Harris whose husband abruptly leaves her for a while woman after she puts her dreams on hold to support his career and raise their family. Through laughs and tears, Bassett and her co-stars showed a generation of women that they deserved to claim love and happiness on their own terms.
1998: How Stella Got Her Groove Back
This adaptation of Terry McMillan’s best-selling 1996 novel starring Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopi Goldberg, and Regina King, grossed $40 million worldwide on a budget of just $20 million. Audiences couldn’t get enough of the scandalous romantic comedy-drama in which Bassett’s character, a corporate executive and single mom, who is convinced by a friend to take a much-deserved vacation. Her Jamaican getaway turns life-changing when she falls for a persistent local who challenges her deeply held beliefs on love, family, and the corporate lifestyle. The movie won big at the NAACP Image Awards in 1999, taking home Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture (Bassett), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Goldberg), Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress (Michael J. Pagan) and Outstanding Motion Picture. Tune in to BET Awards 2021 to see if Bassett will take home another top prize.
To see if Angela Bassett Will take home this year's prize for "Best Actress," tune in to the 2021 BET Awards on June 27 at 8/9 C p.m.