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Things We Saw Today: The Upcoming Issue of ‘Essence’ Celebrates Angela Bassett in Wakanda Style

Long live the queen.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 22: Angela Bassett attends the 5th annual Wearable Art Gala honoring Angela Bassett and Mark Bradford at Barker Hangar on October 22, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Unique Nicole/Getty Images)

Alongside magazines like Jet and Ebony, Essence is a powerhouse in serving its majority Black women readership. With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releasing at the start of their November/December issue, there was a very high chance one of the many leading women would be featured on the cover. Not only did they pick the Angela Bassett (a.k.a. Queen Ramonda of Wakanda in the MCU), but they chose to feature her in a style representative of the medium her iconic character was brought to life from.

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@simplysimone #greenscreen #essence #angelabassett #wakandaforever ♬ original sound – Simone Umba

TikTok also here.

These stunning illustrations were created by the mixed media artist and co-creator of Dare Dollz, Darius Moreno. While the cover is richly textured and meticulously details Bassett’s hair and face, I’m obsessed with the interior images. These are the drawings of her (sometimes with her long-time husband and fellow actor, Courtney Vance) that look heavily inspired by retro comic books, but the colors are so bright they’re definitely some things that would not run through the regular print issues. The mixing of narrative and magazine editorial in Moreno’s illustrations for Essence reminds me of Mickalene Thomas’ print work.

Top part of the Nov/Dec 2022 cover for Essence magazine featuring Angela Bassett. Image: Essence Magazine & Darius Moreno.
(Essence & Darius Moreno)

The decision to not only go the comics route but to put in so many visual elements that span Bassett’s 40+ year working career was an excellent choice and another peek at what a Bassett as Storm could look like. The art pairs so well with the feature story, “Angela Bassett is a Vibe,” in the issue. If you’re like me and want to grab a physical copy, the print edition will be available on newsstands on Tuesday, November 8.

(via Simone Umba on TikTok, featured image: Unique Nicole/Getty)

Here are some other bits of news out there:

  • Ten-year-old Uvalde school shooting survivor Caitlyne Gonzales speaks against police, city, and state’s lack of action. (via The Washington Post)
  • NASA is forming a team to examine UFOs. (via Inverse)
  • Fiona Apple becomes a trained Court Watcher. After helping people know their rights, she started to be barred from attending. (via Twitter)
  • Things you should know about the new U.K. Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. (via Double Down News)

What did you see today, Mary Suevians?

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.

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