Letitia Wright on Balancing Her Faith in God and Career in Hollywood
By Movieguide® Staff
Hollywood actress Letitia Wright, best known for her role as Princess Shuri in Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER, is candid about her faith and how she rests in the comfort of trusting God.
“Worrying will kill you, man,” Wright told W Magazine. “It will…Eat. You. Up. But in the Bible, Jesus is basically like, ‘Chill out, guys.’ If you gracefully trust that everything is going to be okay, you start to feel lighter. You’ve just got to let go and let God.”
However, for Wright, she knows that the process of trusting God means active participation on her part.
“I’m still considered a baby Christian,” Wright, who started attending church three years ago, said. “I have to learn my Word. For as long as I can remember, I knew something about my life was meant to be meaningful, that I’ve got something to do here. I don’t know how I knew, but I was sure I’d make an impact.”
Wright said that although she knew she wanted to live with purpose, her childhood in Guyana meant that Hollywood was never on her radar.
“Art, music, acting, there is not an industry there,” Wright said.
But when Wright was 8 years old, her family moved to the U.K.
“I was only 8-years-old, but I felt like, This is my chance!” Wright recalled.
Wright’s first role was on the stage at 12 years old for her school’s Black History Month performance when she played Rosa Parks. From then on, Wright knew that she wanted to pursue a career as an actress.
However, her journey to Hollywood and the big screen still seemed like a long way off. For Wright, persistence was key. At 15, she sent her picture by mail to London’s top agents.
“I mean, postage is expensive in the U.K.,” Wright said, adding that she switched to email. “I kept nagging one [agent] in particular until the receptionist got sick of me and was finally like, ‘Okay, just come in.’ I did the reading and got signed on the spot. My mom was like, ‘Wow, this really is a thing!’”
By 18, Wright had already landed roles in popular British television shows. However, as her career began to take off, Wright said it did not provide her with the bliss of success she originally wanted.
“I was depressed and full of anxiety,” Wright said. “I think it was that pressure to be accepted, to be somebody. When you’re looking outside of yourself for happiness and validation, a mean comment on social media can wreck you. I was okay when I was on set, hiding behind my work, but when I wasn’t acting I was full of fear and doubt, trying to fill this void inside of me any way I could: drinking, smoking. It was bad.”
However, Wright found the answer to her anxiety in God and even thought about giving up acting entirely to avoid having to portray immoral content on-screen.
“When I first became a Christian, I said, ‘I’m never acting again. I’m done,’” Wright remembered. “[But] God was speaking to me and said, ‘This is your talent, it’s what you’re meant to do.’”
Wright said one key component to upholding her faith in God while pursuing her acting career was learning to say no.
“For me, anything I attach myself to needs to have a purpose. And if it feels like a red light in any way, I don’t do it,” Wright said.
Wright’s close friend and BLACK PANTHER costar Daniel Kaluuya admired Wright’s dedication to obey God through the roles she accepted.
“Watching her make decisions has taught me so much about life and being a human being,” Kaluuya told W Magazine. “She knows what she’s about, and she knows her worth. That’s rare. Especially when you’re coming out of the gate, society says you should do pretty much anything to get where you want to be. Letitia’s like, ‘Actually, how about no? How about I do what I think is right for me?’ ”
Wright scored roles in Steven Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE and THE COMMUTER starring Liam Neeson before landing her breakout role on BLACK PANTHER.
“I knew BLACK PANTHER was going to be impactful, but I didn’t anticipate it would take off in such a maaajor way,” Wright said.
Since then, Wright has used her platform to share her faith in God. She has also called out the media’s tendency towards cancel culture.
“If you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself… you get cancelled,” Wright wrote on her Twitter after receiving backlash over tweets that questioned the safety of the coronavirus vaccine.
After the controversy, Wright deactivated both her Twitter and Instagram accounts.