Black Panther definitely found it’s breakout star in hunky actor Winston Duke.
The 31-year-old caught moviegoers’ eyes playing M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari tribe. He instantly became a heartthrob sensation.
In a new interview with Newsweek, Duke admits that even with all of the accolades and praise he’s received from women around the world, he credits Black women for helping him tap into his confidence.
“At the end of the day, it’s been women from all over the world and all different cultures, but it was really started and driven by Black women and I wanna thank them for that,” the Trinidad and Tobago native.
He continued, “I have not always been in a position to think that the things that made me who I am have always been positive. My height and my size have also made me look like an aggressor without trying. And to now be in a space where they’re saying that’s what makes me beautiful and that’s what makes me disarming, that’s really humbling and it feels really good.”
Duke, who stands at a cool cuddly 6’4″, said that part of his appeal to M’Baku and the fictional world of Wakanda has everything to do with how comfortable it made him feel as opposed to that of his reality.
“I live in this world, so I can’t be M’Baku. He’s not apologetic at all. I can’t be barking at people when they speak to me out of turn like he does. He’s unapologetically himself and that’s something that I feel like I could grow into more. I feel I am to a certain degree, but there’s still a lot of politics of surviving and living in our culture that I have to navigate. I don’t come from privilege, like this character. I don’t live in a world that hasn’t been affected by all the big-isms of the world. So I don’t have the luxury to exist the same way he does.”
Well said, Winston.