Michaela Coel is a warrior, not only on the big screen, but also in real life!
Coel has been cast to play Aneka on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In the comics, Aneka is a Wakandan warrior who identifies as queer and has a relationship with Ayo (played by Florence Kasumba in the film).
During her interview as the cover star of the November 2022 edition of American Vogue, Coel talked about specifically signing onto Black Panther 2 to play a queer character in the Marvel movie. The actress explained:
"That sold me on the role, the fact that my character's queer. I thought: I like that, I want to show that to Ghana."
As noted by the publication, many African countries have incredibly outdated antigay laws put in place in the colonial era that were never updated by new politicians. Recently, a new bill was introduced to parliament that could make identifying as gay a second-degree felony - a crime punishable by five years in prison.
"People say, 'Oh, it's fine, it's just politics.' But I don't think it is just politics when it affects how people get to live their daily lives. That's why it felt important for me to step in and do that role because I know just by my being Ghanaian, Ghanaians will come."
We certainly need more high-profile stars in Hollywood advocating for the LGBTQ+ community in a way that is this direct and impactful. Thank goodness for Coel!
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes out in theaters November 11.
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