Surrender And Believe: Exclusive Interview With Black Panther’s Forest Whitaker

I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles courtesy of Disney to attend the #BlackPantherEvent & ABCTVEvent in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.

With a smile and his traditional laid-back demeanor, Forest Whitaker sat down and spoke saying “hi, hey everybody” before getting comfy in his seat.  I’m a forever fan and just loved how kind and personable he was.  I think I loved him more as she shared about himself and as I learned about the admiration he carried for Ryan Coogler. 

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

Talking with Forest confirmed everything that I had believed about him from other roles, interviews, and photos.  At the top of the interview he mentioned that having the right thoughts and internal life helps him to master his roles.  I knew then that I was in for a real treat and proceeded to hang on every word. 

I am very fond of authentic people. Those who are completely comfortable being themselves, primarily because it was a struggle for me for many years.  When asked if there was a superstition or a ritual he’d do before going into character or did he always have that sort of smoothness about him, he answered,

“I guess I’m always trying to do all the research.  I do the research and I start to study the different people and the things that they do, then work on the different voices…and then slowly it just comes together.  I don’t know if there’s a magic formula.  At some point, I can say, the magic formula for me is I just surrender.  I say to myself, this is your space, and let’s make it happen and do it.  I believe.”

I’m a believer that when we surrender to who it is that we are to become, we give ourselves permission to be.  Yes, he’s an actor and it’s his job…but as people, women, moms – surrendering and believing in yourself is truly your secret sauce. 

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

Do you believe that we should be aware of how the things we do relate to current events and the impact thereof?  I do, I think it’s important to give attention to your work and the role you play in empowering others.  Surrendering also means taking responsibility of what you are surrendering to.  Regarding the message that he hopes viewers take away from the film, Forest said,

I think that we are our brothers’ keepers.  That we must, even in our own comfort, be able to reach out and help others, it’s important.  The message of female empowerment both physically and mentally, and the power it expresses.  Also, the message about Killmonger and him representing our youth, and how we’re molded by our environments and how we have to step in and try to move those things forward.”

 “Other messages, like Colonialism.  Finding your own voice.  Empowerment – I think the movie deals with empowerment, particularly for people of color, but for everyone.  There are a lot of messages in the movie.”

I interpret being “my brother’s/sister’s keeper” by selflessly helping others even when they don’t realize they need help.  As a person that seeks to be a resource to others, I agree and want nothing more…well a few other things for the film but it is my hope that these are among the takeaways from this film for everyone.  It certainly was a takeaway for me after seeing the film. 

Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy by Marvel Studios

There will be times in our lives where we experience fear.  I hear a lot of people talking about fear as if they’ve never faced it.  But when we are constantly doing new and different things, like constantly playing different roles, it is likely that we will become fearful.  Forest said,

Every experience is really different.  Every movie that I do, most of the time, is different, and then when it starts to get too similar, then I know that there’s something wrong.  And if I can’t feel a little fear about it, and I don’t feel like I’m going to change or grow from it, then it’s something wrong.  Maybe I shouldn’t be doing it.  And then I have to examine the reasons why, whether it’s life, or something else, you know what I mean?”

I like how Forest makes his fear work for him.  There’s been times when I was of afraid of doing new things and that fear did not propel me, instead it hindered me.  Perhaps it’s happened to you as well.  I dare not say that it won’t happen again but I feel more confident in my ability to make my fear work for me now. 

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

When you believe in yourself, the potential of following your passion and living a life of purpose is likely.  Surrender and make peace with who you are and where you – that truth will open doors of opportunity to you goals and dreams. 

Right before the close of the year I struggled with surrendering to my new normal and believing in myself.  My status changed but my thinking about myself stayed the same.  I recently had to tell myself that I have purpose, I am powerful, and I trust myself to rise to every occasion and be the me that God created me to be. 

While much of my transition happened before my trip to the BLACK PANTHER World Premiere, I honestly owe the boost of confidence and belief in myself to the #BlackPantherEvent.  The opportunities to chat with Forest, Lupita, Danial, and Danai – to hear their perspectives and learn from their experiences was just want I needed to renew my belief in myself.

Have you struggled with believing in yourself? What did you takeaway from the responses from Forest Whitaker?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.



P.S. Forest gave an amazing Performance in BLACK PANTHER.  It’s in theatres everywhere on February 16th, please check it out, and follow Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  And please follow the other bloggers using the #BlackPantherEvent hashtag.  Check out the trailer:


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  1. Great interview. I can’t wait to see Black Panther. I think is pretty cool to have your job, ha? meeting great people and talk to them.

  2. I have loved Forest since I first saw him in Phenomenon with Travolta. I can believe he would have a kindness about him. He always seems so laid-back. I also like his response to questions about fear. It’s a healthy approach.

  3. Oh what an amazing interview with Forest Whitaker! I’m so excited to watch and support Black Panther. All the trailers have just added to the excitement and I cant wait. Love what Whitaker said about fears.

  4. From time to time when I am having bad days, I will start to doubt myself. It’s motivation posts like this one that reminds me that I should believe in myself and change my mindset that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.

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