British Actress Letitia Wright wowed so many fans when she graced the big screen in 2018 in Marvel’s Black Panther as “Princess Shuri,” the quick-witted tech-savvy sister to T’Challa played by the late great Chadwick Boseman. The role catapulted Wright to public stardom, but you might be surprised to know that the Guyanese-born actress had already been building a name for herself in Hollywood prior to the blockbuster film. Let’s take a look at the actress’s early life and her meteoric rise to fame.
From Humble Beginnings
Prior to becoming an actress, the talented star grew up in Guyana, South America, and eventually immigrated to England at the tender age of 8. Wright revealed to the Sunday Morning Herald in 2018, that she credited her passion for acting to Keke Palmer and her role in the Oscar-nominated film Akeelah and the Bee (2006).
“She looked like me and she was smart and she was doing something positive,” Wright said of Palmer’s inspiring portrayal of Akeelah. “I wanted to make people feel the way I felt after that movie – inspired, happy like I believe I can do anything. It was just a good feeling.” How fitting that she would end up starring alongside Angela Bassett in Black Panther, who also appeared in the film. During an interview with Refinery29, Wright said she also admired Scandal star Kerry Washington and actress Naomie Harris, who she revealed she would love to cast “any day” if there was a movie made about her life in the future.
TV Shows & Films
Before entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wright primed her acting chops on shows like Holby City and the famous British crime drama series Top Boy in 2011. Scottish director Michael Caton-Jones cast Wright in her first leading role in 2015’s Urban Hymn, a coming of age drama that follows a neglected and volatile female offender, Jamie, who possesses an amazing singing voice. Film critics began to catch wind of the actress’s talent after she made an award-winning appearance on an episode of Black Mirror in 2017 titled “Black Museum.” Her stellar performance earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Wright has made brief appearances in films and TV shows such as “Ready Player One” and “Doctor Who.” Fans of the star were shocked when she made a quick cameo in Drake’s “Nice For What” music video.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the multi-faceted star has raked in an estimated $4 million from her long list of acting projects.
Letitia Wright sent Twitter into a heated tailspin back in December 2020 after she reposted a video from British Youtuber Tomi Arayomi addressing issues with the COVID-19 vaccine. The video, which has since been deleted, was jarring for some fans because of Arayomi’s controversial hot takes about climate change and his problematic comments about China allegedly spreading the infectious disease. Wright was slammed with widespread criticism following the move and there were even rumors that the star was threatening to pull out of the sequel for Black Panther over the production’s vaccine mandate. She quickly deleted all of her social media accounts in response to the backlash.
Back in October 2021, rumors stirred that the Small Axe star was spreading her anti-vax beliefs while on set filming the highly anticipated sequel for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, however, Wright briefly reactivated her Instagram where she released a statement in response to the publication’s accusations.
“God bless you all. It saddens me to have to address the reports published by The Hollywood Reporter on October 6th, 2021,” she wrote in a since-deleted post. “The report spoke about my conduct on the set of Black Panther 2. I honestly assert that this was completely untrue,” she continued. “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I work incredibly hard at my craft & my main focus is always to do work that’s impactful and inspiring. That has been & will continue to be my only focus. I will continue to hold onto God’s hands, and onto the scripture of Isaiah 54:17. I continue to focus on my healing. Thank you for your prayers. And I continue to pray for God’s love, peace & joy for you all. God bless you. Letitia.”
Black Panther 2 Injury
Fans have been patiently waiting for the official release date for Black Panther 2 following a number of unprecedented setbacks. Plans for the film were delayed after the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020. Wright, whose role will be reprised for the sequel, suffered a serious health scare back in August 2021 after she was injured on set while performing a stunt. Marvel executives Kevin Feige, Nate Moore, and Louis D’Esposito released an update about Wright’s injuries to the Independent, telling the publication that she had sustained “a critical shoulder fracture and a concussion with severe side effects.”
“It has been a painful process and Letitia has been home recovering with her doctors and the support of family,” they added. A source close to the actress shared that she had been resting up since September and was looking forward to returning to the set come early 2022.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now slated for release in November 2022.
With more success, there certainly comes more challenges and Wright has been transparent about her battles with depression amid her quick rise to stardom. The actress told W Magazine that she was hit with a load of pressure after she began booking more roles in Hollywood.
“I think it was that pressure to be accepted, to be somebody,” she explained. “When you’re looking outside of yourself for happiness and validation, a mean comment on social media can wreck you. I was OK when I was on set, hiding behind my work, but when I wasn’t acting I was full of fear and doubt, trying to fill this void inside of me any way I could: drinking, smoking. It was bad.”
After finding herself through Christianity, Wright said she felt more confident in her acting skills and used her faith to guide her through her bouts with depression. “I had to look deeper to find what could hold me, and I found that what held me together was my relationship with Jesus and my relationship with God,” she told Teen Vogue in 2018.