She's Got the Power! Black Women in Bond Movies

In anticipation of the release of the 24th James Bond film, “Spectre,” this Friday, ESSENCE has partnered with the African-American Film Critics Association for a Black Women of Bond tribute to honor the contributions of Black actresses to the iconic franchise—from Grace Jones and Halle Berry to Naomie Harris and Trina Parks.

Yolanda Sangweni Nov, 02, 2015

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Actress Trina Parks (left) made history as the first Black actress to star in a Bond film when she played Thumple, a villainous bodyguard in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), opposite Sean Connery.

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As Thumper, Parks was Bond’s arch nemesis. The Brooklyn native was a dancer before getting her role in Diamonds Are Forever. She went on to help choreograph the 1975 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, The Wiz. She continues to perform.

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Though Trina Parks made history as the first Black woman to star in a Bond film, Gloria Hendry would become the first Black woman to be Bond’s love intrest in Live and Let Live (1973).

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Not-so-Fun Fact: Moore and Hendry's love scene was cut from Live and Let Live when it was shown in apartheid South Africa where interracial relationships were outlawed. 

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Grace Jones made her role as Bond’s fierce sexy and scary henchwoman May Day in 1985’s A View to Kill iconic.

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In her new memoir, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, Jones recalls taking her villainous character so seriously she scared the living daylights of co-star Roger Moore. He would say, “Please stop looking at me like that, with such venom,” she writes.

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Halle Berry became the first Oscar-winning actress to star in a Bond film. She played a gorgeous villain named Jinx in 2002’s Die Another Day opposite Pierce Brosnan. Her now iconic scene in a bikini was inspired by actress Ursula Andress’ scene in Dr. No (1962). "I remember that bikini coming out of the water and thinking how beautiful Ursula Andress was," Berry told TIME. "I thought, 'Wow! Wouldn't it be great to be like her?'"

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Fun Fact: Producer Barbara Broccoli told PEOPLE that Halle’s now iconic bikini scene was filmed in cold weather. “It was freezing!" said Broccoli. "She got in the water multiple times and never complained.”

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Though not in front of the camera, Dame Shirley Bassey's iconic Goldfinger theme song is one for the ages.