Danai Gurira is on fire!
The Black Panther actress has received tons of praise as Okoye, general of the Dora Milaje, and on Thursday she was honored at ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood event.
Taking the stage, she thanked those in attendance and reflected on how the Marvel film had an affect on the youth.
“This journey has led me many a time to the presence of young people,” Gurira told the audience at Black Women in Hollywood. “Young people who look at me to give them something to hold onto, that special nugget that just may help them get through. And, I realized that sometimes I forget what it was like to be that young, to struggle in your own skin that much. To grapple with a world system that was clearly not made for us in mind. To be unsure of your place in this realm, of how you will ever find it or how you will ever like yourself, let alone love yourself.”
The actress went on to share a story about the time she met a young student in Johannesburg at the African Leadership Academy, who asked her for advice on getting through tough times. “Two things hit me: One, how much encouragement and edification is needed by young people out there from us. And, two, how much they’ve been lied to.”
She continued, “We’ve been lied to and our youth are struggling with those lies, drowning in them. Being denied their greatness because there are so many lies standing between them and their true selves. We have to repel, dispel the lies.”
Gurira added that the reaction to Black Panther has shown her that “people are in a place of reclaiming.” “We are recapturing something that has been taken from us,” she added. We must reach out to those who have yet to get to the other side.”