Welcome to Don’t Sleep On Them, our weeklong series marking the launch of Unbothered UK. Not a single actor of colour was nominated for a BAFTA this year, so we’re using the week leading up to the awards to spotlight incredible black British actresses. Join us in celebrating the women slaying the game and check back tomorrow to see who else we’re rooting for.
Here’s a fun question for you. How do you counter more than 50 years of a misogynistic narrative that celebrates a middle-aged white dude who’s as incapable of following orders as he is keeping his pants on? The simple answer is: you can’t. At least not overnight. That said, throwing Lashana Lynch into the arena to disrupt everything that he, and we, have become accustomed to is the perfect place to start.
Last summer, Lashana was at the eye of a social media storm of rumours and reactions to her starring in the new James Bond film, No Time To Die. The internet caught wind that she’d be taking the role of 007 away from Daniel Craig, who had confirmed this would be his last appearance in the series. And what a way to usher in a new (and overdue) era for a legacy film franchise that relies on the tired 'damsel in distress rescued by a toxic man' trope to drive every subplot. Put a woman in charge. Better yet, put a black woman in charge and watch her save the world.
Bond is still Bond but his 007 agent number has been reassigned to Lashana’s character, fellow MI6 agent Nomi. It’s hard to think of better symbolism for a shift that’s so desperately needed in both British cinema and society. Thank you, new Bond writers, for the image of a young, talented black woman succeeding the stubborn older white man with the type of poised energy that'll prompt cheers in the cinema. Lashana isn't here to be your typical iteration of a Bond girl; she's here to do it on her terms.
Put a woman in charge. Better yet, put a black woman in charge and watch her save the world.
"You’re given a fresh perspective on a brand-new black woman in the Bond world," Lashana told The Hollywood Reporter last year. She added: "I didn’t want someone who was slick. I wanted someone who was rough around the edges and who has a past and a history and has issues with her weight and maybe questions what’s going on with her boyfriend."
We had the pleasure of experiencing the multilayered conviction that Lashana can deliver in a part when she broke into the coveted Marvel universe last year. In Captain Marvel, she played Maria Rambeau, a former air force pilot, single mother and best friend to Brie Larson's titular character. Lashana's performance was drenched in the type of compassion that meant scenes with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson orbited around her character.
We really saw Lashana then and we'll see her again, not only in No Time To Die but in post-apocalyptic comic adaptation Y later this year and (hopefully) in the recently announced Captain Marvel sequel, too.
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