Shameless Self-Promotion: Check Out My Profile of Angela Bassett in Essence

And if you happen to be standing in the supermarket or the CVS or Wal-mart or wherever magazines are sold and you see that deliciously stunning shot of Angela Bassett on the March issue of Essence, pick it up and run it on over to the cash register. Because I wrote that!

Yes ma’am/sir, I interviewed the incomparable Ms. Bassett, she of What’s Love Got To Do With ItWaiting To Exhale, and Malcolm X fame. Back in December, just a few days before Christmas, I flew out to Cali and met her at a swank hotel in Pasadena, where we ate a light lunch and then had pedicures together while we talked about her career, her passion, her marriage, her mother, her babies and her love of God.

Yes, I was a bundle of nerves.

Yes, Angela is as stunning in person as she is on the big screen even more so, considering when we met, she was barefaced, flawless and ridiculously toned.

And my goodness, she’s a writer’s dream—an awesome quote. Witness:

For sure, Angela Bassett strives for perfection. For herself. For us. Especially when the camera is trained in her direction, when she is called to the red carpet to rep us colored girls. The angels deemed this so. And if that representation falls anywhere outside what Bassett would deem dignified? Well, Ms. Angela has nary a problem trading the glittering, glamorous high beams of superstardom for a real regular life doing real regular woman’s work.

Like, seriously.

“I can go work in a bank. I can be the next anchorwoman of some network somewhere,” she mused recently during a lunch and spa date with ESSENCE at a swank Pasadena, California, hotel. She ponders that for a moment, taking in the weight of the statement. “Well, I may not be fulfilled artistically.”

And then she has a light bulb moment. “I could work at the community theater, she grins. Yes, I could act anywhere at church, the community theater, the local Y. But what I won’t do is degrade myself just for the sake of working. Because those performances live forever. Institutionalized slavery is over, but images that degrade, they live on forever.”

Want to read the rest? Well you’re gonna have to run on out and get yourself a copy of the March 2011 issue (which, by the way, is the annual Black Women in Hollywood, featuring profiles of Viola Davis, Loretta Devine and Jennifer Hudson, and has a SLAMMING six-page fashion spread of Glee’s Amber Riley, channelling her inner Chaka Khan and looking absolutely juicy and fantastic and deliciously fly in her fitted, sparkly dress, a hot, short trench, and gosh, you just gotta see it. Essence KNOWS how to make black women, no matter the shape or size, look hawt!)

Well? What are you waiting for? GO COP THAT! And if you fall in love with her story about love, faith, parenting and making a relationship/marriage work, check out, “Friends: A Love Story,” the book Angela Bassett penned with her husband, Courtney Vance available in hardcover (at a STEEP discount!) on North Paran, where for every book you buy, another book is given to a child who doesn’t have one. Buy one, give one!

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I’m a subscriber to Essence so I’ll be turning to the article first before I read anything else! Go, you!! I like how you mixed the interview with lunch and pedicures. It’s like just hanging out, talking to a friend.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      That’s exactly what it felt like, Simone! Some celebrities want to make you feel like you’re a “lesser than,” but that SO wasn’t the case with Angela. She’s a class act—from the moment she introduced herself and shook my hand to the second we finished hugging good-bye. She’s just super warm and down-to-earth, and I adored talking with her.

  2. Yes, go you!! I got mine last week and it was GREAT article. I didn’t even notice the byline 🙁
    She has so much class. Just proves you either got it or you don’t.

  3. I shall cop that indeed! Not just because Angela Bassett is on my Shero list, but because I know your writing style, so I know Angela will be explored, shared, and brought to us in a way that leaves us feeling fed. ‘Cause that’s how you roll, and I lovez it!! Congrats on the feature–I’ll grab it this week!

  4. Woot woot!! Way to go!! Going to have to slide by the grocery store and pick that up.

  5. Jacqueline Lewis

    Yes, I read it, and then I read, oh yeah Denene wrote it. She is so just a “I’m every women” she can be what she needs to be, when she needs to be, so down to earth. Just always loved her integrity. Congratulations Denene!!! When she rocks we all rock!!!

  6. I read it and saw that Angela Bassett was FIFTY-TWO and I almost slammed the magazine shut. Ain’t no WAY that woman is a day past 35. I’m 25 and I’m jealous. LOL.

  7. Congratulations!!! I read the article on the train just this morning. Your enthusiam and appreciation of writing about and meeting her just awesome. All the best to you!! Be Blessed!

  8. I surely will read it and great job Denene. You make us so proud.

  9. You go girl! You are a great writer and You are also deserving!!! Great Job!!!Love you sister .

  10. Well done :)!
    I saw the magazine and thought how beautiful and young she looks. I couldn’t buy it because I am an ex magazine addict, LOL. But for the occassion that you interviewed her I will buy it :).

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