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Wakanda Forever: Why I researched the Igbo traditions – Winston Duke, Tobagonian actor

Winston Duke is a Tobagonian actor. He is best known for his role as M’Baku (of Igbo tribe) in this Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Panther and it’s sequel, Wakanda Forever. In this interview with Naijatimes Duke speaks on how he was able to achieve his Igbo accents and how he dealt with the blow of Chadwick Boseman’s death.

How do you feel being part of this master piece; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?

It is such a beautiful feeling. It is an interesting journey. When you watch this movie, you will find out its true meaning. It’s easy to say it’s fun to talk about. It is so much greater than you. The depth is relayed even before you open your mouth. It makes it really easy to fall in love with. 

What were challenges faced during filming and how did you handle it?

One of the major challenges was trying to figure out how you feel inside you. We had a very big loss and that loss was also part of the film. Whatever that was going on inside as an actor, was also happening outside. The confusion is met by so much confusion due to the loss of one of us. 

Aside this, shooting in a post COVID world was really hard. We had to be taking tests, three times a week. People getting sick often and all that. Making such an epic movie at time we did was really hard. I was constantly negotiating how to take care of myself internally in this moment. Usually, I used to be more worried about taking care of myself externally; how do I eat well? not get injured, get enough sleep and be whole to do the job. For this project, I had to consider how to remain whole, internally and externally. 

You perfectly delivered the role of an Igbo man with all the accents, how did you make that happen?

My accent was completely inspired by an Igbo man. The Jabari tribe is very much influenced by the Igbo tribe here in Nigeria. I listened and found really great samples. I also contacted friends. I also researched more on Igbo traditions. I watched their movies too. One of my call responses which didn’t make it as part of the movie but everyone on set remembers it is, Ndi Jabari Kwenu, Ndi Jabari Kwezunu. Another one is Umu Wakanda. I did a lot to deliver the core Igbo man you saw in the movie.

How did the death of Chadwick Boseman affect your emotions on set?

People know Chadwick Boseman from what they read about him, admire his outfits, like covers of magazines, his faces on papers and all, they don’t get to know the real him or know him privately. They don’t get to know how peaceful, calm and funny he was. People need to know his softness, the way he laughed. How sweet he was. How thoughtful he was in his quietness. 

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