United States of America-based actor and playwright Danai Gurira was the woman of the moment at this year’s Academy Awards (Oscars) as the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star became the first Zimbabwean to be host of the prestigious awards.
The 95th edition of the Oscars took place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on 12 March.
With the cameras and lights flashing her, Gurira understood the assignment as she graced the stage wearing a black sleeveless gown designed by Taiwanese-Canadian designer Jason Wu.
Danai emphasised her natural beauty with full make-up complemented by a bright red lipstick and accessorised with earrings and a sparkling bracelet.
She captured the eyes of many at the star-studded ceremony with her towering hair-do by hairstylist Larry Sims which she said was homage to African black women.
Commenting on her hairstyle, which had a resemblance of a crown, Gurira said: “This is my African self-coming out here, you know, a tribute to the women who carry amazingly things on their heads with an astounding poise at all times.”
The major highlight of Gurira’s moment on stage was when she introduced triple platinum selling musician Rihanna on stage who she said is a “royalty in her own right”.
Rihanna, who is expecting a second child with boyfriend Asap Rocky, performed Best Original Song nominee (at the Oscars) titled Lift Me Up from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The song was a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman who starred in the 2018 film Black Panther as the supposed super hero.
“Chadwick embodied the Wakandan King, T’Challa. The one chosen to uplift, to protect, to keep us safe. His legacy will live on for future generations. Thank you, King,” said Gurira, introducing Rihanna on stage, to perform in honour of Chadwick whose life was claimed by colon cancer at the age of 43.
Danai played Okoye in Black Panther and its 2022 sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
She starred as Michonne Hawthorne in the AMC zombie drama series The Walking Dead.
Danai will reprise her role of Michonne in an upcoming spin-off series scheduled to première in 2024.
She also will play Okoye in an upcoming Disney series with a Wakanda focus.