It’s President’s Day weekend and Marvel’s superhero action movie, “Black Panther,” featuring an all black star studded cast—a first of its kind—just proved to Hollywood, better yet the world, the impossible was never that hard to make possible if just given the chance.
Ryan Coogler directed film based on the “Black Panther” comics. According to Hollywood Reporter, the highly anticipated film became the second highest grossing movie to hit theaters over a four-day period earning, $242 million coming right behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $288 million.
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Lettita Wright, and Daniel Kaluuya there is for sure a break-out star amongst this popping melanin cast—Winston Duke.
Introduced to moviegoers as M’Baku, the leader of the isolated mountain Jabari tribe, Duke, 31, may be a fresh-face to the movie scene but his impeccable acting is matched to his seasoned co-stars.
1. Black Panther was Duke’s first feature film – Hard to believe right? Prior to “Black Panther,” Duke appeared in recurring roles in “Modern Family” and “Person of Interest.”
2. He identifies himself as Trinbagonian – Born in Tobago, Duke moved to Brooklyn, New York at the age of nine. After selling their family own and operated restaurant, this single mother of two migrated her family to the United States all in sacrifice of Duke’s older sister to become a doctor.
3. Lupita Nyong’o and him are close friends – The pair were both students at Yale School of Drama, Duke actually met Nyong’o on a campus tour. The two later would join FOLKS, a student organization founded by fellow Yale alum, Angela Bassett to “cultivate solidarity, legacy, and high-risk artistry among the Black artists.” He describes the trajectory of their life as “coming in full circle” when it was only a few years ago the friends went to see Avengers together and fantasized being in a Marvel action film themselves.
4. Winston graduated from Yale University – Black Panther is literally an ivy league cast. In 2013, the actor graduated from Yale School Drama with a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) where fellow Yale alumni, Nyong’o and Bassett also received their M.F.A degree.
5. He stands tall at 6’5.” Winston Duke is practically a tall and robust glass of Jabari water.
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