92 Yr Old “Black Panther” Actress Tells Amazing Story Of How She Didn’t Chase Dream Until 88

Posted On : March 1, 2018

ILOSM fam,’ if you still have not seen the record breaking film, Black Panther, then maybe actress, Dorothy Steel, will give you that extra push to get outta your house and head to the movie theater to check out this historical masterpiece. Why? Because not only did she hold her own as the ‘Merchant Tribal Elder’ who advised the King of ‘Wakanda,’ “T’Challa” a.k.a. “Black Panther,” her real life story is hella inspiring to say the least.

Dorothy Steele in “Black Panther” film

How She Landed Her Role

You see, Mrs. Steele just turned 92 years young in the third week of February (2018), however, she landed the role in Black Panther at the age of 91. In an interview with WSB2-TV-Atlanta, the Atlanta, Ga. native explained how she landed her Black Panther role:

“It was just amazing, it truly was,” Steel told Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez. “If anyone would have told me I would be an actor, I would’ve said you got to be out of your mind,” Steel said. Steel said she sent her audition tape when Marvel called her last year. “We sent it in and an hour later they said, “Who is that old lady? We want her,'” she recalled.

92 year old “Black Panther” actress, Dorothy Steel (via WSB2-Atlanta)

And just like that, Steel was now starring alongside some of the biggest names in the game, including Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, and Michael B. Jordan.

It’s Never Too Late, She Started At 88

Equally inspiring, is the fact that Mrs. Steel is living proof that it is never to late to pursue your dreams. That is because another interesting fun fact about her, is that it wasn’t until she made her 88th birthday, that she decided to pursue acting.

What Actor Chadwick Boseman Did For Her On Set

On the set of Black Panther, Dorothy Steel described how much of a melting pot and familial environment it was among all the actors and crew. She also revealed that she was not just the ‘Merchant Tribal Elder’ in the film, she was also the “grandmother” of the set:

Via WSB2-TV: Steel said she became the “grandmother” on the set of ‘Black Panther,’ which she said is not just a movie but a movement. “We were one big melting pot of black people and we knew we were doing something that had never been done before. Ya know?” she said.

Premiere Of Disney And Marvel's 'Black Panther' - Arrivals
HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 29: Actor Chadwick Boseman arrives for the premiere of Disney and Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ held at the Dolby Theatre on January 29, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

Steel said that Chadwick Boseman, the lead character, would do the coolest thing for her everyday, which made it feel even moreso like a family environment:

“Chadwick the King. Every day, he would make sure if I was on the set, he would come by and make sure he gave me a big old hug and kiss,” Steel said.

She Says The Women In The Film Deserve Their Props

As we all know, Black Panther is an all around powerful statement within Hollywood for several reasons, including the predominantly Black cast, which was a first for Marvel Studios. However, Steele also attributes much of that power to the fact that there were so many strong women in the movie:

She said the women of Wakanda rule ‘Black Panther.’ ”We have power and it’s time for us to step up and take over. That’s what we have to do and take over,” she said.

SiriusXM's Town Hall With The Cast Of Black Panther
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 13: Director Ryan Coogler and actors Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan take part in SiriusXM’s Town Hall with the cast of Black Panther hosted by SiriusXM’s Sway Calloway on February 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

How Things Have Changed Since 1926 For Mrs. Steele

Mrs. Steel added an extra touch of authenticity to the film, because her age and wisdom truly represents her role as a wise ‘tribal elder’ of ‘Wakanda.’ She’s been blessed to see the world evolve throughout the decades and it has come a long way since her birth year of 1926. Mrs. Steel was just 14 years old when she witnessed the first African American woman -actress, Hattie McDaniel- win the Oscar Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ in 1940. It took another 62 years for the first Black actress, Halle Berry, to win an Oscar for ‘Best Actress’…when Steele was 76 years old.

Now, look at her, in 2018 -78 years after Hattie McDaniel made Hollywood history- Mrs. Dorothy Steel has carved out her own piece of Hollywood history with her role in the record breaking, first ever Black cast (with a Black director might I add) of Marvel’s Black Panther. The film that has crossed all barriers, demolished brainwashed Hollywood stereotypes, and proven that Black actors do not have to be limited to Tyler Perry movies (no diss to Perry, just saying there are other roles to be filled as well) and the ‘Black sidekick’ roles on the big screen.

Black Panther Just Made History AGAIN

Speaking of Black Panther, lets big up these successful box office numbers the film has grossed not one, but TWO weeks in a row. According to Mashable, the film has been KILLIN’ it at the box office, and as of it’s second week in theaters, it has officially broken into the TOP 20 highest grossing U.S. films of ALL time! To date, Black Panther has grossed a total of $748.1 MILLION. Here’s what was just reported:

Via Mashable: Black Panther reached $421.8 million at the North American box office Tuesday – beating out Wonder Woman ($412.6 million) and Toy Story 3 ($415 million) to take the no. 20 spot on the list of the U.S.’ highest-grossing films, Variety reported Wednesday. In addition to that impressive domestic showing, Black Panther has made an additional $326.3 million overseas, bringing the worldwide total so far to $748.1 million.

It was also reported that the predominantly Black cast and Black director, Ryan Coogler (31), are indirectly teaching Marvel Studios a first hand lesson as well. Here’s how:

At its current rate, Black Panther is pacing to become Marvel’s most successful movie ever made, an impressive feat considering the amount of movies Marvel Studios has pumped out since it kicked off its superhero film dynasty in 2008. The movie has had the best opening out of any Marvel film and could pass The Avengers’ $623 million domestic gross before we know it. Black Panther is currently ranked 86th for all-time worldwide gross.-via Mashable

“Black Panther” Director Tells How Trip To Africa & Soul Searching Inspired Film

'Black Panther' BFI Preview Screening - Photocall
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 09: Director Ryan Coogler attends the ‘Black Panther’ BFI preview screening held at BFI Southbank on February 9, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

As previously mentioned, Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler, is just 31 years old. He was just 29 at the time that Marvel Studios called, asking him to do the film. No stranger to taking on big Hollywood names, having just come off of directing Creed, starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, Ryan took on the challenge. However, he said it was his trip to Africa, that had inspired him to do so:

Via Rolling Stone– “I was grappling with something I’ve kind of been scraping at my whole life,” Coogler recalls, “which is my cultural identity, and what it means to be African. […] “I had never been, and I felt ashamed that I had never been. So I was like, ‘As soon I finish Creed, maybe [my wife] Zinzi and I can take that trip.’ […] “The biggest thing for me was the themes of the story – letting them [at Marvel Studios] know where my head was at and making sure they would get on board,” he says. “I was very honest about the idea I wanted to explore in this film, which is what it means to be African. That was one of the first things I talked about. And they were completely interested.”

Coogler said he the took that trip to Cape Town, South Africa, to study the culture. He befriended an employee at the Capetown hotel he was staying at and asked the brotha to take him to his home and in the town where he lived:

“It was a life-changing experience,” [Coogler] says. … The rituals they do are very similar to things I do with my family. Like, almost identical. […] And I realized, ‘Oh yeah – African-Americans truly are African. It takes a lot more than what happened to us to take that out of us.'”

Well I’ll be damned! Look at what taking a chance and seizing the opportunity can do. Like my mama would say, ‘Look at Gawd!’

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