Skip to main content

GQ Exclusive Interview With Black Panther’s Breakout Star Winston Duke Is Here to Call You Out

It takes a lot to stand out in a movie with a cast as stacked as Black Panther. But somehow newcomer Winston Duke manages to steal the show as M’Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe. GQ caught up with Duke to ask him what it's like to be a part of a phenomenon your very first time out.
The first words Winston Duke says in Black Panther as M'Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe, double as a hell of a metaphor for Black Panther itself: It's challenge day. The line is a reference to one of the traditions in the film's fictional nation of Wakanda, where each of the five tribes are free to challenge the heir to the throne to combat on the day of their coronation. Winner takes all. To Winston Duke, the release of Black Panther can't help but feel a bit like that, a direct call out to blockbuster cinema and the assumptions that drive it. It's challenge day.
As M'Baku, Winston Duke makes an immediate impression, even in a cast as stacked with revered legends and fan favorites as Black Panther. Well over six feet tall, the 31-year-old Tobagonian actor cuts an imposing figure, but it's one that's levied with tremendous wit and grace—in just a few brief scenes, Duke effortlessly goes from proud warrior to hilarious scene stealer, and he does it in no time at all.
Did we mention this is his first film role?
Following the release of Black Panther, GQ took the opportunity to speak with Duke about his breakout role, being in a movie that's also a moment, and what it was like to dunk on the film's token white guy.

GQ: What's it been like, just taking it in?
Winston Duke: It's more than I can ever imagine. Even leading up to this day, it's been really huge, full of fanfare. Everyone is eager to jump into the world that we created. And now that it's here, I believe it's as good as they anticipated, maybe even something more. I watched it for a third time last night, with fans at the El Capitan theater, and the energy was electric. I was in a room with people that were just people of color. And they were responsive, and they got it, and they were applauding, and they were moved, and I feel like we're on the forefront of something really great.
Even before the movie came out, there was a feeling of significance about it. How did it feel to be a part of something that people knew was going to be special?
I think we let our imaginations run wild with the thought of what this could do. I think it's going to be something none of us has ever expected, and that's because we've never seen it before. We don't even know what the manifestation of that reality could be like—that's what I'm excited about. I know it's going to be important, not just for children but for adults who've never seen this kind of narrative wrapped around black bodies before. My character has a line right when you first meet him, he says, "It's challenge day. Today is a new day." And it's kinetic. I feel it, I felt it last night in that audience, when I saw the movie this third time, and I'm seeing it in a totally new light.
What's it been like, watching it all these times?
The first time I saw it was just the reel, finally getting to see the final product... The second time, I watched it as a fan, and finally saw the movie. I was moved by the scenes. Growing up, I was raised by a single mother. I didn't have a father in the home and the line that struck me was, "Stand up, you are a king." I was moved to tears. And then last night, watching it now as an observer, watching people laugh out loud in droves and having a little boy come up to me—he was, I don't know, seven—and he was like, "Yeah, you're the guy, you're the guy who made the monkey noises and saved the day!" [laughs]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Liberia: Top 7 Iconic Music Videos Directed by Jackie Russ

​By Robert Serge Saint-Pe Alex Nyenga, alias, Jackie Russ has enjoyed a seven-year stint as a videographer which has put him behind the camera of numerous memorable Liberian music videos, earning him several nominations and awards. He has again proven himself as a top-notch video director over the past months, which has landed him nominations for the 2021 MTN – Liberian Music Awards (MLMA) for Best Music Videographer and the 2021 Liberian Entertainment Awards (LEA) for Video Director of The Year.  Even if Jackie Russ is not a familiar face, he is definitely a household name who has worked with many top Liberian artists and influential celebrities. One of his unhighlighted gesture is that he gifted Caroline M. Moore, better known as MC Caro with her first ever music video for her song “Bring Our Money Back” in 2018. Here is a look at the top seven iconic music videos directed by Jackie Russ. 7. Christoph Ft. Margas – Hold Your Polaruh (2016) “Hold Your Polaruh” was directed by Christoph

President George Weah's One Day National Forum Successfully Attended by 26 Political Parties

On Thursday, August 8, 2018, President George Weah had a sit down with 26 political parties of Liberia.  The meeting aimed at advancing ideals that promote the spirit of national unity and political tolerance between opposition political parties and the government.  ANC, LP and UP attended the meeting as a team. According to Deputy Minister Eugene L. Fahngon, Deputy Minister for Press and Public Affairs at Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs & Tourism, all 26 political parties attended and participated from start to finish.  Even though, social media was buzzing about AB Dillion walking out of the meeting, he walked out as an individual and not a political party, "the invitation was extended to political parties and not to individuals," Minister Fahngon stated in his live video.  Each political party gave ideals and recommendations, which made the meeting a great success.  According to  Deputy Minister Fahngon, "there will be future engagements as such.&quo

Liberia: Spoon Tv Has Been Accused of Being a Government Operative

Spoon TV has risen to prominence as a platform for unfiltered news, political viewpoints, and social concerns. Unfortunately for the television network, the recent visit of their team to Liberia has led to some people questioning their objectives and ethics, which is unfortunate for them. Check out few post on the subject from fans around the world. "This is your Spoon TV Crew in Liberia hobnobbing with the CDC Government. My issue is not that they are meeting the Government. I believe in constructive engagement and the Government represent all Liberians. My issue is, this is the same Spoon TV that faults everybody of being in cohort with the government once they hear gossip about you being friends with the CDC folks. This same Spoon TV was disrespectfully calling out my name on their wretched show to come and appear because Jerome Verdier accused me of meeting with Jefferson Koigee and George Weah, as if it is a crime or sin to engage the CDC government or even know or talk