When Riri Williams Dominique Thorne meets Shuri (Letitia Wright) for the first time, she says “to be young and gifted and black,” an iconic quote taken from Lorraine Hansberry’s autobiographical play of the same name.
Chadwick Boseman talked about the phrase and its importance during his acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for “Black Panther” in 2019. So while the phrase is a reference to Riri and Shuri’s talents, it’s also a tribute to the late star.
Thorne was going through the line as he spoke The Hollywood Reporterhe explains that he honors the actor and the character at the same time.
She said: “I think that was implicitly understood. First of all, this film is a tribute to the late, great Chadwick Boseman and his legacy, not only as a person, an intellect, an actor and a scholar, but also as T’ Challo. So I think that line was also the most important.”
Thorne added, “The history and heritage that the phrase evokes is also something that just kind of exists. It’s a bit of a cultural subtext as a black individual.”
The star went on to say that this is a pivotal moment in understanding who Riri is.
She explained, “So when we first peek at Riri in her room and you hear her say that phrase, there’s definitely an implicit acknowledgment of what her existence in ‘Wakanda Forever’ and the MCU really means.”