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BAFTA Awards 2019: Letitia Wright’s powerful message that success is a work in progress

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The Black Panther actress was named this year’s rising star, and her speech contained a moving message about overcoming depression.

What a year Letitia Wright has had.

The 25-year-old from Tottenham starred in two of 2018’s biggest movies: Black Panther and Ready Player One. She was the breakout star of the former as Shuri, T’Challa’s smart, savvy little sister always ready to cut him down to size, superhero or not. 

And now, fresh from a critically-acclaimed turn in the Young Vic’s The Convert, penned by her Black Panther co-star Danai Gurira, Wright was named the 2019 BAFTA Rising Star.

Accepting the award, Wright thanked her faith and BAFTA for helping her though the toughest time in her career.

“A few years ago I saw myself in a deep state of depression, and I literally wanted to quit acting,” she said. “The only thing that pretty much pulled me out of that was God, my belief, my faith, my family… And an email from BAFTA saying they wanted me to be a part of the BAFTA breakthrough Brits. And I thought, let me try again.”

Black Panther changed the superhero game forever

For Wright, success isn’t the work of a moment. It’s a longterm project that she will continue ti work on for the rest of her career.

“This wasn’t an overnight thing,” she said. “This wasn’t a click of a finger. Success is a work in progress. I’m still a work in progress.” 

Wright also took the chance to thank BAFTA for nominating her in a category alongside Lakeith Stanfield, Cynthia Erivo, Barry Keoghan and Jessie Buckley.

“You guys all encourage me and inspire me,” she said. “You have all inspired me so much… I want to say thank you to everybody who gave me a chance, and saw my talent and saw what God placed in me and said yes.”

“I want to encourage young people, matter of fact you don’t have to be young you can be any age,” she added. “I just want to encourage you, anybody who’s going through a hard time or somebody who lost your soul or lost their light… You’re important. There might be people here going through depression and going through a hard time and putting a smile on their face and nobody can see it. But God sees it. So let your light shine.” 

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If you thought 2018 was a big year for the actress, just wait till you hear about her upcoming slate of projects.

Wright will return to the world of Wakanda in Avengers: Endgame and is rumoured to be leading Guava Island, the forthcoming top-secret movie project from Donald Glover and Rihanna. After that, she’ll be onscreen with her drama school pal John Boyega in Hold Back The Stars, a sci-fi romance epic.

Both Boyega and Wright are proving to be some of the brightest young British stars, both in Hollywood and at home. Walking the red carpet together at the 2018 Met Gala, Boyega called Wright an “amazing woman.” He added: “We spoke about the future in McDonald’s after drama classes.”

The future is now. And for Wright it looks very bright indeed. 

Images: Getty, Marvel

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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