Although Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died of cancer in August, Angela Bassett is "excited" to shoot the movie's sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, though she says his presence will be missed.
"We won't have our heart and soul right there at the center in Chadwick, but in spirit I know that he will be with us from day one through infinity," the actress, who played Boseman's onscreen mother, told ABC's Good Morning America. Bassett also teased, "Black Panther fans don't have to worry about a thing because we have our fearless, wonderful, visionary leader Ryan Coogler...on script and there directing. He's a visionary, an auteur, he's a kind of gentle soul and he encourages you in his own particular way...to give your best, so I have absolute faith in him."
Bassett also explained her advocacy as an ambassador for the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association’s "Know Diabetes by Heart" initiative. She lost her mother in 2014 to heart failure, which was a wake-up call for her own health, and of those in her community.
Bassett said of her health ambassador role, "I'm able to just honor the woman that my mother was and also to use this incredible platform that I have to get the word out," she said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health reported that in 2018, Black Americans were 30% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites.
On May 25, Bassett will host the Know Diabetes by Heart at the Theater virtual event from Harlem's famous Apollo Theater. The free entertainment event will celebrate Black culture and raise awareness about diabetes, heart disease and stroke.