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Michaela Coel on playing a queer black character in Black Panther

Star power: Michaela Coel is about to hit the big screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  And to mark the occasion, she also became a Vogue cover star

Michaela Coel is set to hit the big screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And to mark the occasion, she also became a Vogue cover star, stunning in a high fashion shoot for the November issue of the style bible.

The accompanying interview sees the I May Destroy You talent tease his influential role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as well as a rare glimpse into his off-screen life.

Star power: Michaela Coel is about to hit the big screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  And to mark the occasion, she also became a Vogue cover star

Star power: Michaela Coel is about to hit the big screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And to mark the occasion, she also became a Vogue cover star

Filming for Vogue is taking place in Ghana, Michaela’s ancestral home, with her father, Derek Kwesi Coel, and grandmother, Jemima Andam also featured in the photographs – all three dressed as nines in designer pieces.

Michaela grew up in east London but told Vogue’s Chioma Nnadi she felt an immediate affinity for Ghana when she first visited in 2018.

“When I got here, I was really seeing people who looked like me. A friend of mine was with me, and he remembers us getting off the plane and walking around like I knew where I was going” , she explained.

“I remember watching all the kids play and it hit me, like, Wow, that could have been me and I think I would have really enjoyed that.” Yes, there are many sad things; poverty, unemployment, struggle. There is also a lot of calm, friendliness. There is a lack of anxiety.

Family: Vogue filming is taking place in Ghana, Michaela's ancestral home, with father Derek Kwesi Coel and grandmother Jemima Andam also in the photos

Family: Vogue filming is taking place in Ghana, Michaela’s ancestral home, with father Derek Kwesi Coel and grandmother Jemima Andam also in the photos

Africa stars in the upcoming Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever, in which Michaela plays Aneka, a combat instructor for Dora Milaje, the fearless team of all-female warriors who protect the kingdom of Wakanda.

Her character falls in love with fellow warrior Ayo, played by Florence Kasumba.

Playing a queer character in a film set in Africa, where there are strict anti-gay policies, Michaela admitted, “It sold me on the role, the fact that my character is queer.”

“I thought: I like this, I want to show this in Ghana. … People say, ‘Oh, it’s okay, it’s just politics.’ But I don’t think it’s just politics when it affects the way people live their daily lives.

Major Roles: The accompanying interview sees the I May Destroy You talent tease his influential role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as well as off-screen life

Major Roles: The accompanying interview sees the I May Destroy You talent tease his influential role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as well as off-screen life

“That’s why it felt important to me to step in and play this role because I know just by being Ghanaian, Ghanaians will come.”

As for her own off-camera romance, Michaela said she’s been working hard on herself in hopes of one day finding her equal.

“I want a life partner. I love romance and I love when romance turns into something deeper, a relationship where there’s understanding, transparency, forgiveness, openness,’ she said.

“But you have to find that person, and personally I haven’t seen many healthy men.”

“So, I don’t know if I trust myself. I try to do the job. I talk about them all the time in therapy, and in fact, person by person, they’re getting healthier and healthier.

Role: In the sequel to Black Panther, Michaela plays Aneka, a combat instructor for Dora Milaje, the fearless team of all-female warriors who protect the kingdom of Wakanda.

Role: In the sequel to Black Panther, Michaela plays Aneka, a combat instructor for Dora Milaje, the fearless team of all-female warriors who protect the kingdom of Wakanda.

Michaela landed a role in the Black Panther sequel after being noticed by the film’s director Ryan Coogler at the London premiere of the first film, where she confidently mingled with the cast.

Development on a sequel to the original Black Panther began shortly after the release of the original, which premiered in 2018.

Many cast members from the first film have expressed interest in returning for a follow-up, though plans were complicated when its star Chadwick Boseman tragically died of colon cancer in August 2020.

It was later confirmed that plans for a sequel would move forward and the late actor’s role would not be recast.

“It was like the whole cast was processing the grief,” Michaela said of her on-set experience following Boseman’s passing.

“There was a feeling that we had to bring this baby home in Chadwick’s name.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be released on November 11.

Vogue’s November 2022 issue hits newsstands nationwide on October 18.

Tribute: Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman tragically died of colon cancer in August 2020.

Tribute: Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman tragically died of colon cancer in August 2020. ‘It was like the whole cast was dealing with grief,’ Michaela said of her on-set experience

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