Angela Bassett, 65, made history at Tuesday’s 14th Annual Governors Awards by clinching her inaugural Academy Award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Friend and self-proclaimed little sister, Regina King, presented the Honorary Oscar, cementing Bassett as the second Black actress to receive this esteemed recognition, following in the footsteps of the legendary Cicely Tyson.

In the spotlight of the 14th Governors Awards, Bassett seized another feather for her cap, earning an Honorary Oscar for her impactful contributions to the film industry. During her acceptance speech, she took a moment to pay homage to the “trailblazing” Black actresses who paved the way before her, including Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, and Rosalind Cash.

“They were my North Star, my guiding light,” Bassett expressed on stage, acknowledging the resilience of those who came before her. “Proof that while the road may not be without curves and bumps, there was a way to fulfill what I believed deep in my soul was my destiny.”

Expressing gratitude, she continued, “It was standing on their strong, spiritually fortified shoulders that I often was sustained. I thank them for every sacrifice, every doubt, every disappointment, every rejection, every triumph that I know they experienced along the way. Because had it not been for their resilience, continuing to fight through their fears and the uncertainty, and their willingness as they fought for every role, I would not have had a representation of what was possible for me.”

Bassett’s journey to this milestone includes her breakthrough role as Tina Turner in the biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It” (1993), earning her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Notable successes followed in films such as “Boyz n the Hood” (1991), “Malcolm X” (1992), “Waiting to Exhale” (1995), “Vampire in Brooklyn” (1995), “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” (1998), and “Music of the Heart” (1999). In subsequent years, she took on impactful supporting roles in “Notorious” (2009), and action films like “Green Lantern” (2011), “Olympus Has Fallen” (2013), and “London Has Fallen” (2016). Her notable portrayal as Queen Ramonda in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Black Panther” (2018) also added to her impressive filmography.

Bassett’s academic journey is equally remarkable. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Yale University in 1980, she defied familial opposition to pursue acting at the Yale School of Drama. Despite warnings not to “waste” her “Yale education on theater,” Bassett persevered and earned a Master of Fine Arts in 1983. At Yale, she crossed paths with her future husband, Courtney B. Vance. The couple has been married for 26 years and are parents to twins Slater Josiah Vance and Bronwyn Golden Vance.

Angela Bassett’s narrative is one of resilience, gratitude, and a steadfast commitment to both her craft and personal growth.