News Brief

Angela Bassett Joins Marvel's 'Black Panther' Movie as T'Challa's South African-Born Stepmother

Marvel’s forthcoming Black Panther movie adds Angela Bassett to an already lit cast.

Marvel’s forthcoming Black Panther movie continues to get lit. Angela Bassett is the latest addition to a knockout cast that already includes Chadwick Boseman in the title role and Michael B. Jordan as the villainous Erik Killmonger alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke and Florence Kasumba.


Bassett, who currently stars in American Horror Story, will play the South African-born Ramonda, second wife to the late King of Wakanda, T'Chaka, and stepmother and main parental figure to T’Challa / Black Panther. She’s also the biological mother of T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri. In the Black Panther comics, she's referred to as “Queen Mother.”

As for Kasumba, you may recall the Ugandan-German showstopper basically won Captain America: Civil War with a single line (“Move, or you will be moved”), while Kaluuya is about to be the next big thing in Hollywood as the lead in Jordan Peele’s forthcoming race-driven horror flick, Get Out.

The first standalone Black Panther movie is being directed by Creed/Fruitvale Station’s Ryan Coogler. Production is expected to start in the first quarter of 2017, with a theatrical release slated for February 16, 2018. WE. CAN'T. WAIT.

Ramonda in the Black Panther comics. Image via Marvel.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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