By Oluwatoyin Adeleye
She won the hearts of all who saw Black Panther, right from the moment when she asked Okoye about T’Challa, “Did he freeze?”
Princess Shuri, younger sister to the Prince and later King of Wakanda, was the brain behind the technological advancements of the country (including the Black Panther suit) and is sort of the African Tony Stark in the movie.
She endeared fans with her humour, sarcasm and passion in the film, among other traits and we just love her. But who is Princess Shuri outside Wakanda?
Named Letitia Wright, the 24-year-old has pretty much been in and out of the acting career since she was a child. After her early brushes with success, Wright went on a hiatus from acting when barely out of her teenage years, but she is obviously back now.
Wright recently opened up about her struggles with depression and mental illness during the Black Panther tour.
“In the black community, it’s something that happens, but we don’t speak about it. We have to continue to talk about it and bring it straight to the forefront. And [that doesn’t only apply to] the black community but different races as well,” she said to Teen Vogue.
In Essence’s “Yes Girl” podcast, Wright said as a creative person, she got tripped up, comparing herself to other people.
“I didn’t want to do acting again. I was in a very, very bad place. I was willing to just wrap it up. I put so much pressure on myself. I would watch these women that I’m on the [ESSENCE] cover with and compare myself to them or anybody—Michael B. Jordan, John Boyega—comparing myself to these people. It was so hard for me to just accept that my path is different, not only with acting but other things too.”
But Wright is determined to do something different.
“I speak boldly about [depression] because I struggled with it and I tried to find different ways [to heal], and it just didn’t work. I had to look deeper to find what could hold me, and I found that what held me together was my relationship with Jesus and my relationship with God. Even to this day, I’ll be at events and people will pull me to the side and tell me that they deal with the [situations] that I’ve dealt with. And I’m grateful because I want people to find a way out.”
Wright said she took a break from acting in order to put her mental health first.
“It was like this repetitive cycle that you can’t break out of,” she shares. “I did personally deal with it, and I just had to surrender to God, and I found that it really worked for me.”
She went more in depth about her relationship with God speaking on the podcast.
“I said I wanted to give [acting] up, then went into becoming a Christian. My friends told me about [Christianity] and I thought it was nonsense until I realized that it wasn’t; that the spirit of God, the holy spirit, is very real. Once I realized that, I felt centered. The reason why I share this story is because I know there are people out there who are silently going through what I went through. It’s a thing that goes on, especially creatives, putting so much pressure on ourselves and it leads to depression. The light that’s in me now and the joy and the happiness that I feel, I didn’t get it on my own. It’s God working through me.”
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