Golden Globe winner: ‘Don’t serve fame and money’

Angella Bassett
OLDER AND WISER: Actress Angela Bassett

Between Secret Service director Lynne Jacobs in action thrillers Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen, Doctor Waller in superhero film The Green Lantern, and Michelle Obama on The Simpsons, actress Angella Bassett has had her fair share of strong female roles.

She was slaying the screen long before the gripping portrayal of rock star Tina Turner in 1993's What's Love Got To Do With It that earned her the first Golden Globe Award for Best Actress given to an African-American; and she continues to do so now as she stars as the first female lead in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege video game and Ramona Royale in the latest season of American Horror Story.

Bassett is no stranger to success. But after more than 30 years in the industry she says she still has to be careful to avoid the pitfalls that can accompany money and fame.

"All those things are nice, but not if you serve them," she says. "They have the potential to devour."

She told Parade magazine: "Everyone is going to serve something and that can become the centre of their existence. Mine is love of God and faith, as opposed to fame and money."

In 2013 she told the LA Times: "When you realize that every breath is a gift from God. When you realize how small you are, but how much He loved you; that He, Jesus, would die, the son of God Himself on earth, then just weep. Loving God is like my being black. I just am. [No one says] 'You know what? I'm going to be blacker today!' It's my culture. It's not something I put on or take off or show more. You just communicate that in the way you live your life."

The outspoken believer, who recently made a moving and powerful speech honouring the Charleston Shooting Victims at the 2016 Dem Convention in Philadelphia, explains she was no stranger to ideas of God growing up. "My mother had us in Sunday school and choir," she says.

“Loving God is like my being black. I just am”"Love of God makes so much sense to me when other things don't.

"Life is so beautiful and complex, that it doesn't make sense to me that it was just an explosion. It's my belief system."

Her long string of movies include Waiting To Exhale, Malcolm X, Kindergarten Cop, and White Bird in a Blizzard, while her TV credits range from The Cosby Show and Tour of Duty to Perry Mason and The Simpsons. Last year she made her directorial debut with Whitney, a movie about the late singer Whitney Houston.

But she says at the centre of her life is love of God and faith. In December 2015 she tweeted after she won an NAACP nomination for her role on American Horror Story: "Today is a blessed day! Just found out I was nominated. God is Good!"

"I pray to be strong," she tells Parade, "to follow my dreams, but to not crave them so much that I'm easily preyed upon.

"All money is not good money and some of these situations can rob you of your good intentions. Knowing who you are and staying true to that is everything."

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