Angela Basset’s Life in Pictures

Born to Shine

You don’t always find ESSENCE March cover girl Angela Bassett starring in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but you can bet the seasoned actress is one of the best in Tinseltown. The Golden-Globe winning Yale graduate has loved the stage ever since she was a little girl growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida. Take a look at her extraordinary life.

Making Her Mark

Angela Evelyn Bassett was born in Harlem, but grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida where she was raised by her single mother Betty. After recognizing her daughter’s passion for the stage, Bassett’s mother encouraged her towards the arts. Years later after she earned her chops in theater and minor TV roles, Bassett would gain recognition for playing Ice Cube’s mother in “Boyz n the Hood” in 1991. The following year she would play Betty Shabazz in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X.”


Bassett won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her unforgettable portrayal of Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

True Icon

Before we knew about First Lady Michelle Obama’s arms, we coveted Angela Bassett’s amazingly toned physique. Her arms and legs were legendary in “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.”

Bridal Bliss

Angela married her husband, fellow actor Courtney B. Vance, in 1997. The two had been close friends for 10 years prior to walking down the aisle.

Settle ‘The Score’

In 2001 Angela played Robert Dinero’s flight attendant girlfriend in the crime and action thriller “The Score.” The film won two Academy Awards and Bassett took home an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress” for her role.

Love and Happiness

In 2008, Angela and her actor husband Courtney B. Vance published a book together called, “Friends: A Love Story,” an autobiographical collaboration on their love. The couple has revealed that they were celibate before they tied the knot. “Because we knew this relationship was so special, we decided to abstain from sex until we were married,” Courtney has said. “That was my brilliant idea,” Angela revealed. “But it wasn’t easy. Actually one night, I did beg Courtney to give in.” She says she loves his soft brown eyes and his kind heart.

The ‘Notorious’ Angie

By the time Angela portrayed Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace’s mother in “Notorious” she was a household name. Bassett brought Voletta Wallace’s stern, yet loving personality to life.

I Am Blessed

“I’m just so blessed to be able to do what I just love and have loved since I was a teenager, since I first found it, and to be encouraged by others for it,” Bassett has said of her work.

I’m Every Woman

We love Angela Bassett because she just seems to represent us all effortlessly, playing iconic women in Black history from Betty Shabazz to Tina Turner. She carries herself with respect and grace and she possesses an air of accessibility that most celebs have lost.