Guyana-born British actress Letitia Wright conferred with honorary doctorate

Guyana-born British actress Letitia Michelle Wright has been conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Letters by the University of Guyana.
At a special convocation on Wednesday, February 1, the talents and achievements of this international actress were recognized. She famously plays the role of Shuri in the Marvel movie “The Black Panther and Wakanda Forever”, and an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Letters was conferred on her in a simple but solemn ceremony at the University’s campus in Turkeyen. Wright is the 11th person in the University’s 60th year of history to have ever received its highest degree.
Prior to the event, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin, had met with the Guyanese actress to offer the University’s highest honorary award, which she accepted.
Delivering remarks on the day of the event, the Vice-Chancellor said she hopes that Wright’s accomplishments would bring hope to many Guyanese. She expressed gratitude to the Tourism, Culture, and Education Ministers for providing access and supporting requests for the actress’s brief visit to the University to accept the award.
“This that we gave this morning [Wednesday] is the smallest thing that we can do, not only to honour you, but all that you represent,” Professor Mohamed-Martin said.

Guyana-born British actress and star of the Black Panther, Letitia Michelle Wright, speaking at the special convocation ceremony at UG

The simple, brief and solemn event carried all of the trappings of a solemn University ceremony.
In respect of the University’s Artist in Residence and Cultural and Arts programmes, the University also took note of Chadwick Boseman, Wright’s close friend, the “Black Panther,” who passed recently, as well as Shaunette Renée Wilson, a New York-based Linden-born Guyanese who played a member of Dora Milaje, a Wakanda elite Special Forces Unit.

Battled many hurdles
Wright, in her acceptance speech, shared her experience of how she battled many hurdles to accomplish all she did at such a young age. She said at one point during her struggle she fell into depression, but she allowed herself to get back up and keep pushing.
The actress also spoke of how she uses her platform to promote her homeland.
“…being a young girl and practising my art when no one could see. Going to the UK and not having enough to go on holiday or do the other thing that the keeps did, but I stayed with a little laptop in my room and watched movies, and I would print off the scenes and I would practise them in my room and no one will see….
“…when life would knock me down or knock my family down, you would not believe the obstacles we’ve overcome to even be here. It was not given to us on a silver spoon, we worked very hard. I watched my parents go from job to job, and my grandma worked very hard to send things home for us, and help us to know that we will never be in want.

Letitia Michelle Wright being conferred with an honorary doctorate by Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin

“…sometimes I got angry, sometimes I fell into depression, sometimes I didn’t pick myself up…then the opportunity comes, doors started to open and you see preparation meets opportunity. I was prepared for those auditions. Yes, they wanted a white girl…but that black girl from Guyana walked in….
“As the years went by, and as God was able to use my talent, I always made it very known to everybody in Hollywood and every interview of where I am from…no, it is not Ghana, it is Guy-ana. Please don’t confuse the two.
“I took the opportunity to highlight my country because this county is where I am from”, she explained.
Meanwhile, in addition to receiving her doctorate certificate and being draped in the honorary doctoral robe, Wright was adorned during proceedings with words of encouragement and gifts from students and staff of the University of Guyana.
Wright, 29, left Guyana for the United Kingdom at the age of eight. She began her career with appearances on Top Boy, Coming Up, Chasing Shadows, Humans, Doctor Who, and Black Mirror. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for the latter. Her breakthrough came with her role in the 2015 film Urban Hymn, for which the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) named Wright one of the 2015 BAFTA Breakthrough Brits.
In 2018, she attained global recognition for her portrayal of Shuri in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Panther, for which she won an NAACP Image Award and a SAG Award. She reprised the role in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022). In 2019, she received the BAFTA Rising Star Award. She also appeared in the 2020 anthology series Small Axe, which earned her a Satellite Award nomination. (G9)