How Have There Only Been 5 Black Actresses In A Half Century Of Bond Films?

Photo: Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX Shutterstock.
The James Bond franchise has been around for more than 50 years — a film-world feat that's certainly noteworthy. Another statistic of interest? Only five Black actresses have been featured in the films since the first installment hit theaters in 1962, according to Variety.

Tuesday evening, four of those five stars — Halle Berry, Naomie Harris, Trina Parks, and Gloria Hendry — gathered at the California American Museum for the first-ever Black Women of Bond Tribute. (The only woman missing was Grace Jones, who plays May Day, a henchwoman with superhuman strength in 1985's A View to a Kill.)

Parks was the very first Black actress to appear in a Bond film, back in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. The Brooklyn-born dancer took on the part of Thumper, Bond's onscreen adversary. “I had a short afro at the time and I said, ‘The character is strong, but she’s also sexy and other Bond girls have been that way, so why can’t I?'” Parks said at the event.

More than a decade later, Hendry became the second Black woman to appear in a Bond film, in 1983's Live and Let Die. She was shocked when she landed the role, and recalls wondering why she was asked to audition in the first place."'I'm not tall, I’m not blue-eyed, I’m not busty and I’m not white. What do they want me for'" she remembered thinking. A week later, she won the part — and went down in James Bond history. (Variety)

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