The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira On Black Panther's Significance

Many know actress Danai Gurira from her portrayal of the deadly Michonne on The Walking Dead, but fans will be seeing a lot more of the talented star over the next few years, including within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Gurira will be starring in the upcoming Ryan Coogler directed Black Panther as Okoye, one of the renowned Dora Milaje, the Panther's most vaunted of protectors. In a recent interview with ET, Gurira spoke of Black Panther's significance and his effect on young African American men and women.

“I grew up seeing a lot of superheroes and they didn’t look like me and they certainly weren’t in Africa. I think that it is something great for girls who are like me growing up. Growing up in Africa, we were looking for images we couldn’t always find.”

Black Panther is setting up to be a breath of fresh air, and not just in regards to its hero, but in its feel and setting, which brings a whole new culture and texture to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While the film industry has certainly made strides overall, Gurira points out that there is still plenty of movement forward to be made.

“I want to see stories coming from the black female perspective, to make sure they’re paying attention. We’re at a far better moment than we were at in the past, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Gurira isn't just relying on Black Panther to start a conversation, though. She recently introduced a video at the Global Citizen Festival that spotlights the lives of children in the Nyumbani Village, which acts as a sustainable AIDS community in Kenya. She also modeled her first play, In The Continuum, after real life events that she witnessed during her youth. The play follows the life of two women after contracting AIDS.

“I grew up in the '80s and '90s in one of the hardest-hit countries. It really shaped my upbringing. Witnessing something like that as a young child definitely shaped how I saw the world and how I knew that ultimately one day, I would try to contribute.”

Black Panther hits theaters on July 6th, 2018.