What I Learned From My Black Panther Interview With Lupita Nyong’o And Danai Gurira

While in Los Angeles as press for Disney at the #BlackPantherEvent, we had an opportunity to interview Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

They walked in the interview room of the Montage Hotel with confidence and vibrant smiles.  I have to admit, it was a girl crush moment for me.  I was overwhelmed with joy to meet and interview both Danai Gurira (Okoye) and Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia).  I absolutely loved Danai as Afeni Shakur in All Eyez on Me.  She was amazing, powerful, and exactly what I imagined the mother of Tupac. 


Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

I have also admired Lupita for her role as Nakku Harriet in Queen of Katwe and Patsy in 12 Years a Slave where she won an academy award for best supporting actress.  Her speech was so very powerful, I will never forget the closing statement “when I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.”

The power and authenticity of Lupita’s speech vibrated through their answers during the interview.  They sat down and jumped right in.  I’m not sure we actually asked a question before they began sharing their thoughts about their roles in BLACK PANTHER. 

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

There was consistency throughout the interview.  The answers revolved around making a difference, dedication, and responsibility.  Playing Nakia, Black Panther’s love interest and Okoye, the head of Dora Milaje in the film, intently held our attention as they shared their BLACK PANTHER experiences.

Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy for Marvel Studios

There were so many life lessons, takeaways, and tweetable moments during this interview.  As a mom I listened in hopes to identify lessons to teach my son but ended up planting a few takeaways on the tablet of my own heart. 

Lesson #1: Be Committed to Making a Difference

When asked how they identified with their characters, Lupita said something that resonated with me immediately.  She said, “I identify with Nakia’s independent spirit and her feeling her loyalty to her country. I understand that she’s a warrior and she’s the chosen warrior of the River Tribe.  She’s also a war dog – an undercover spy, but as a warrior and leader of her tribe I think it means a lot to her to make her people proud and I understand that. I relate to that and so I think that was my way into figuring out who she was…and I love a woman who is on a mission to make a difference which is what she’s on.”

In life especially as a mom, I want to make a difference.  I want the work that I do enhance the lives of those around me and I want my parenting to positively impact the life of my son.  I want him to know that it is more important to make a life and not just a living.  Moms, it starts with us. If we want our children to understand the importance of making a difference, we must be difference makers that they can see daily.


Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

Lesson #2: Responsibility Breeds Expectation

Well into her response about how she related to role of Okoye, Danai, in my opinion shared power and conviction of the type of person she was at her core….which was a lot like Okoye.  She said “…the way that she is so dedicated to her nation and her people and holds responsibility, the idea to who much is given much is expected. I feel like she considers Wakanda like this gem that she has been given to protect.  She takes that on as something that is priceless and that she cannot let slip. And so, I think that’s really something that really propelled me and connected me to her.”

As Danai sat there sharing her heart, I believed her instantly and identified with her.  Being dedicated and responsible is not always easy, not as a mom or as a mompreneur, but it’s necessary.  When we take responsibility for who we are, where we are, and the things we do…I believe that it will bring us into a greater sense of purpose and like Danai, propel us to take full ownership even when it does not feel good.


Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

Lesson #3: It’s Important to Train for Your Moment

Natasha, one of the 24 bloggers on our trip who was also our group’s photographer asked about a particular fighting scene and their training process.  How they were able to fight and look so graceful. 

“Yeah, we trained a lot. They really were so smart with how they crafted these women, they are different, and their fighting styles are very different. Mine character is very traditional. She’s going to pull out her spear and she’s going to do forms that have been in Wakandan tradition for generations. Hers (Nakia) is get the job done, she’s just going to take them down however she can, and I just love that. Yeah, it was fun. I did love finding her. The idea of stepping into a character who’s connected to this traditional ancient way of moving was really amazing.  I loved how they found that for each of us and then put that into the training and helped us find and own our characters around those movements.” said Danai.

Lupita added, “The training was a big part of getting into character because understanding how someone fights reveals a lot about what their values are and who they are.  So, when we were first talking about Nakia’s fighting style Ryan said to me she’s street and that was really all I needed – so by any means necessary, she will use any weapon. She will grab whatever it takes to get the job done. Then again it is another way that when we get together we stand in solidarity.”

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

While they were talking about the process used to train them in their unique fighting techniques, I loved the lesson.  Through their training they were able to become more like their character and bring her to life.  I don’t believe that practice makes perfect, that is not a lesson that I teach my son, but I do believe that practice makes preparedness.  As we develop a discipline of training, we become better…as a person, mom, employee, actress and person. 


I often apply a reality check on how I am living my life.  Am I making a difference? Am I taking responsibility for my successes and epic fails? Do I invest in myself? Am I disciplined enough to become who I desire to be?  That’s why this interview was so impactful.  It felt as if I was in a masterclass with Lupita and Danai on “Strategies to Live Your Best Life” and I left empowered and free. 

Mommies, the #BlackPantherEvent has taken me on an amazing journey and this seems to be only the beginning.  The lesson learned from the overall event experience, the film, and the cast was unimaginable.  I am truly grateful!

How has Lupita and Danai’s perspective impacted you? What are your takeaways from their interview? Please share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you!



P.S. Please follow Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and go see the movie on February 16th in U.S. theatres everywhere!


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  1. Awesome interview! I can’t wait to see this movie. It is so wonderful to see such strong and powerful women in these roles!

  2. These women are fierce and powerful. And that hair is ON POINT! I would have loved to have been there! They seem like very dedicated and inspiring women for sure.

  3. You are so lucky to have been able to talk to them and take this interview. I can’t wait for the movie. I bet it will be amazing.

  4. Congratulations on the fact that you got the interview the cast! I would have been so nervous and excited I might have exploded. This was an interesting read, thanks for sharing!

  5. Lupita is such a amazing woman and I’m so glad that she is a woman children can look up to. This movie does look amazing!

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