Best Known For
Angela Bassett is an Academy Award- and Emmy Award-nominated actress known for roles in What's Love Got to Do With It, Waiting to Exhale, Malcolm X and The Rosa Parks Story.
Betty & Coretta - Trailer (1:56)
In 1993, Tina Turner’s autobiography "I, Tina" adapted into the film "What’s Love Got to Do with It" starring Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner.
Angela Bassett, who stars as Coretta Scott King in the Lifetime Original Movie, "Betty & Coretta," remembers and honors Martin Luther King. "Betty & Coretta" premieres Saturday, February 2nd 8/7c.
Mary J. Blige, who stars as Betty Shabazz in the Lifetime Original Movie, "Betty & Coretta," remembers and honors Martin Luther King. "Betty & Coretta" premieres Saturday, February 2nd 8/7c.
Focusing on the extraordinary women behind the two men who would change history, "Betty & Coretta" tells the similar true stories of Coretta Scott King , wife of Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X.
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Born on August 16, 1958, in New York City, Angela Bassett attended the Yale School of Drama and went on to star in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It, for which the actress received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award. Other films have included Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Strange Days, Supernova and Mr. 3000. She wed fellow actor Courtney Vance in 1997.
Born in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on August 16, 1958, Angela Bassett is known for her many dramatic roles in films, television and on stage. Bassett was raised with her sister, D'nette, in St. Petersburg, Florida by her single mother, Betty, a social worker. On a high school trip, she became inspired to act after seeing a Kennedy Center production of the classic story Of Mice and Men, starring James Earl Jones.
Encouraged by a teacher, Bassett went on to study at Yale on a scholarship, earning a B.A. in Afro-American Studies and an M.F.A. in drama. While there, she studied under the renowned stage director Lloyd Richards, who cast her in the Broadway productions of two August Wilson plays: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Joe Turner's Come and Gone.
Despite her early success on stage, Bassett had to work hard to break through the stereotypical roles usually assigned to African American women on screen. Her first role was a bit part in the cult favorite, F/X (1986). In 1991, she had a key role in the seminal anti-gang film, Boyz 'N the Hood. A year later, she landed the role of Katherine Jackson, mother of the Jackson Five singing group, in The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992). Bassett continued her stream of strong female roles by portraying Betty Shabazz in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992) with Denzel Washington in the title role. She turned in an outstanding performance in her breakthrough role as Tina Turner in What's Love Got To Do With It? (1993), earning an Academy Award nomination for best actress.
Bassett costarred with Whitney Houston in the adaptation of Terry McMillan's Waiting To Exhale in 1995. In 1998, she headlined another McMillan adaptation, How Stella Got Her Groove Back. In Jodie Foster's extraterrestrial-encounter film, Contact (1997), Bassett portrayed a top-level presidential advisor.Back on stage, Basett played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Hamlet, costarring Alec Baldwin, at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York City in 1998.
A versatile performer, Bassett has continued to tackle a diverse mix of projects. She shared the stage with her husband Courtney B. Vance in a regional production of His Girl Friday in 2005. The pair also appeared together in the final season of the hit television drama ER from 2008 to 2009.
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Who can forget Angela Bassett as Tina Turner or Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles? Do you remember who played Billie Holiday? Or who Beyoncé performed as in the film Cadillac Records? More recent African-American biopics include the Lifetime original movie Betty & Coretta (2013), starring Angela Bassett as Coretta Scott King and Mary J. Blige as Betty Shabazz, and The Butler (2013), starring Forest Whitaker and based on the life of Eugene Allen.
View our photos of African-American biopics to compare these famous figures to the actors and actresses who have portrayed them.
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After the Civil War, many of the country's best and brightest black advocates, artists, entrepreneurs and intellectuals moved to the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Thanks largely to the efforts of these residents, Harlem became both the cradle of a cultural revolution and the heart of the civil rights movement. Meet some of the many people who gave—and continue to give—this neighborhood a voice, simply by calling it home.
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