Lashana Lynch has hailed her role in 'No Time to Die' as an "honour".
The 32-year-old actress used to be "scared" of being a role model for young black women but is not grateful for the "golden opportunity" she's been given and is proud to represent her Jamaican roots as Nomi in the upcoming James Bond film, the franchise's first ever black female agent who will reportedly take over the spy's famous 007 status.
Speaking as she was honoured at Essence's Black Women in Hollywood Awards luncheon in Beverly Hills on Thursday (06.02.20), Lashana - who also starred as pilot and single parent Maria Rambeau in 'Captain Marvel' - said: "It used to somewhat scare me knowing there were little black girls around the world potentially looking up to me and what I do ... but I soon realised it is a golden opportunity to speak to those I care about through my work.
"It was a privilege play Maria Rambeau and give an ode to single black mothers who are truly heroes without capes, and it is an honour to be able to proudly flam our big Jamaican flag up in MI6 as a 00 agent."
The actress described herself as "a dark-skinned, working class young woman from West London ... who proudly comes from an immigrant family and wears her truth on her sleeve" and went on to pay an emotional tribute to her mother Sonia, who raised her and her two brothers alone while working two jobs.
She said: "I grew up in a very traditional Jamaican household. ... I remember being hyper-aware of my blackness.
"I recall being in ballet class at a very young age and having a white teacher tell me to tuck in my backside, and I proceeded to explain why mine just doesn't go in like everyone else.
"So then I told my mom I wanted to leave [ballet], at that young age, and because of the black women that raised me, I was confidently able to leave a space that didn't celebrate me. And now here I am in this room being able to celebrate my skin, my hair and my [behind]."
She also dedicated her 'Captain Marvel' role to her mother, who was sitting in the audience.
She said: "That character was a love letter to you and hundreds and thousands of single black mothers who go above and beyond to raise their kids ... so to you and all the wonderful black women here today, you have truly lifted me up and you have paved the way.
"The true essence of humanity lies in the sacrifice of black women."
Other stars honoured at the event included filmmaker Melina Matsoukas, the cast of 'Pose' and Niecy Nash.
This article originally ran on celebretainment.com.
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