Angela Bassett Discusses Narrating Queens And What’s Next On 9-1-1

Angela Bassett Discusses Narrating Queens And What’s Next On 9-1-1

Angela Bassett Discusses Narrating Queens And What’s Next On 9-1-1

Angela Bassett’s illustrious career, which began its ascent in the 1990s with iconic films like “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” “Waiting to Exhale,” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” has reached new heights in recent years. Her recent endeavors have not only solidified her status as a Hollywood powerhouse but have also showcased her versatility and depth as an artist.

One of her latest projects, the National Geographic documentary series “Queens,” is a testament to her dynamic range. This groundbreaking series, which is a contender for an Emmy, explores the natural world through the lens of female leadership. Bassett’s powerful and mellifluous voice brings to life the stories of various species, from elephants to hyenas, whales to lions, and bears, all led by formidable female leaders.

The series breaks away from the traditional “voice of God” male narrators, offering instead what can be described as a “voice of Goddess.” Bassett’s narration is a masterclass in versatility, ranging from dramatic to playful, comedic to awe-inspiring. Her experience as a voice-over artist is evident, having earned three Primetime Emmy nominations in recent years for her narration work, including for the documentary “Good Night Oppy” about NASA’s Mars mission.

In a recent interview, Bassett shared her excitement about working on “Queens.” Initially approached by National Geographic with a sizzle reel, she was immediately captivated by the project’s celebration of female power, both in the animal kingdom and behind the scenes. The series is directed, filmed, and produced by a predominantly female team, a fact that deeply resonated with Bassett.

The beautifully written script of “Queens” allowed Bassett to infuse her narration with a wide range of emotions. She was particularly moved by the stories of the animals and the global female artists whose music accompanies the series. The experience was so immersive that she found herself dancing in her seat while recording.

When asked which animal queendoms she resonated with the most, Bassett mentioned the elephants and bonobos. She admired the elephants for their strong sense of family and emotional depth, and the bonobos for their nurturing nature.

The themes of female power, resilience, sacrifice, friendship, and love are central to “Queens.” However, the series also explores the darker aspects of matriarchal leadership, showcasing the lengths some female leaders will go to maintain their power.

Bassett also spoke highly of the incredible crew behind the scenes. The series took four years to make and was filmed in some of the most remote and challenging locations on the planet. The dedication and artistry of the cinematographers, Sophie Darlington and Justine Evans, were particularly inspiring to her. Their commitment to training and mentoring women from around the globe is helping to change the face of wildlife TV.

Shifting gears, Bassett also discussed her role as Athena Grant-Nash on the hit show “9-1-1,” which is entering its eighth season. The show continues to explore the emotional and professional challenges faced by Athena and her husband Bobby Nash, played by Peter Krause. This season delves into Bobby’s past and its impact on his present, adding new layers to their family dynamics.

Bassett’s portrayal of Queen Ramonda in the Marvel “Black Panther” movies has also been a highlight of her career. She described the experience as incredibly rewarding, both on and off-screen. The representation of a Black woman as a queen has been an inspiration to women everywhere.

Recently, Bassett received an honorary Academy Award, a recognition that she described as a testament to perseverance and hope. She emphasized the importance of continuing to dream and strive, even in the face of challenges.

Bassett’s journey into voice-over and narration began early in her career. Inspired by legends like James Earl Jones, she saw it as another avenue to explore her craft. Her dedication to her work, whether on screen or behind the microphone, continues to inspire and captivate audiences.

As for future projects, Bassett hinted at a possible return to the stage, her first love. She is currently exploring new plays and classic works, looking for the next exciting opportunity.

Reflecting on her past collaborations, such as with Terry McMillan on “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” Bassett fondly recalled the camaraderie and the groundbreaking nature of those films. They were among the first to portray Black female characters in a complex and nuanced way.

“Queens” is indeed a trailblazing project, breaking free from conventional narratives and highlighting the strength, resilience, and creativity of female leaders in the animal kingdom and the filmmaking industry. Bassett’s involvement as both executive producer and narrator has been instrumental in bringing this unique and powerful series to life.

Angela Bassett continues to be a force in the entertainment industry, whether through her compelling performances on “9-1-1,” her powerful narration in “Queens,” or her inspiring presence in the Marvel universe. Her work is a testament to the power of perseverance, creativity, and the enduring impact of storytelling.

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