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Angela Bassett Says Support From Other Black Actresses Helped Her Build a Legacy

Angela Bassett says in the beginning of her career, "We were all struggling together, we were all trying to make a way out of no way — it wasn’t easy."
Angela Bassett as Athena Grant in FOX's 9-1-1, which she also co-executive produces.

Angela Bassett as Athena Grant in FOX's 9-1-1, which she also co-executive produces.

Courtesy of Extra

Angela Bassett won her 11th NAACP Image Award Saturday night!

Taking home the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Athena Grant on the FOX drama 9-1-1, Bassett talked to Extra’s Rachel Lindsay right after her win.

“You are such a trailblazer and embody Black excellence in everything that you do," Lindsay said, "what does this honor mean to you and your legacy…? How did support from fellow Black actors — I know you recently spoke about Whitney Houston what she meant to you — help you as you navigate in this industry and as a community?"

Bassett replied, “You absolutely said it — Black actresses as a community, coming through and up in the beginning, it was so important to have them by your side because we were all struggling together, we were all trying to make a way out of no way — it wasn’t easy."

She went on, "There were fewer roles. We were all vying for them, but to have that support of each other — if I couldn’t get it, you are, your tremendous talent would be on display, and then what’s for me would come to me and only I could have that. I’ve always loved and embraced that support and attempted to give that support.

“Now with more and more opportunity in our hand and availability, that’s been wonderful. I get my inspiration from the work of others. I continue to learn by watching their incredible display.”

Bassett added, “This award means a lot, and for the NAACP for all the work they’ve done for our community, for our people, through the years … It so was important for me to say not only for tonight, but throughout my career at different points, they have supported and been an encouragement for me The work is the award, the reward … the ultimate reward, but the award is pretty sweet!"

Nominated with Dawn-Lyen Gardner (Queen Sugar), Octavia Spencer (Truth Be Told), Queen Latifah (The Equalizer), and Rutina Wesley (Queen Sugar), Bassett is also an executive producer on 9-1-1.