Letitia Wright’s visit home a breath of fresh air

Letitia Wright takes a snap with a sno-cone vendor as she holds on to that ice cold sno-cone in a red cup. (Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce photo)
Letitia Wright takes a snap with a sno-cone vendor as she holds on to that ice cold sno-cone in a red cup. (Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce photo)

So over the last week, Guyana welcomed a movie star to our shores. Not just any movie star, but one born here. One who ensures that you know she is from Guyana at every opportunity; and, if you listen to her carefully, you will hear that Guyanese accent.

Yes Guyanese-born British actress Letitia Wright, who spent her formative years in the village of Good Intent, West Bank Demerara, proudly returned to her home land and from all indications she has had a rollicking time.

And look if you have not seen the Black Panther movies and know her in her Shuri role or any  other roles in the many movies she’s appeared in; just listening to this young woman, you have to love her. Along with her down-to-earth look, positivity just seems to exude from her; and when she opens her mouth you have to listen. The woman just speaks knowledge and shares her humble beginnings and how she persevered even when she was told no on more than one occasion.

There are some, however – and thankfully I have not seen not one such comment but have seen many people reference them – who had an issue with her not being fancy. It seems as if her casual clothes and sneakers (no makeup it seems and no jewellery) rubbed them the wrong way.

It is a travesty that some of us equate success with glamour and glitter and believe that dressing extravagantly demonstrates success.

In a brief comment on the Ministry of Education’s radio station Wright had this to say: “Money, cars, clothes and fame do not equate to success. I know a lot of people think that… though I have it, I don’t flaunt it because it is not necessary, because it doesn’t equate to success and I never want to put that message out.”

She could not have said it better and even though it was not a response to those who may have been talking since she arrived in Guyana I hope they heard it or read of it and took some wisdom from it.

Let’s look at what else the sister said she came to Guyana. I mean, the girl has been talking. At times I felt a tad sorry for her as I looked at the many engagements she has had and how many times she spoke to audiences who hung on her every word. If she was tired, she never showed it as she appeared upbeat for every engagement, especially those that involved children and young people.

In that Ministry of Education radio interview she reminded that everyone’s journey is different and the first thing to know is that one should not compare oneself.

“It is very important not to compare your pathway or your dreams to other peoples, but to figure out the purpose, the unique purpose that God has placed into your heart and to follow that,” she said.

And she stressed that the results would not look like other people’s results but rather exactly what God needs it to be.

She asked that young people find something positive to contribute to the world and to keep doing that wherever they are led and if it helps another person positively then that is success in itself.

“I just want to let anybody know out there as well, please do not chase that [money and fame] because it is meaningless but please chase the purpose that God has placed in your heart and everything else will follow and you can enjoy it, but as long as you chase purpose first,” she said.

There was a wonderful programme held for her at Queen’s College, which saw children from many different schools in attendance.

In an address in that auditorium, filled with mostly children representing various strata of society, Wright said she found it important that she visited with children as they need to be inspired to hold on to their dreams and have hope and move on in life.

And as they view her continued success she stressed that it is very important for them not to feel inadequate and think they “can never be” like her or they “can never gain that. Because God made us all equal and God made us all with the opportunity to strive. So I just encourage you, whatever you want to do, to go after it, to put 110% into it.”

She said while the traditional careers such as lawyers, doctors, teachers in Guyana are very important, and acting was not something her parents were familiar with, once they understood her passion and her love for it they got behind her but indicated that school was important as well.

She had words of encouragement for children who feel they are unseen or unloved, telling them that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (reference to the bible verse from Psalm 139:14) and that they have purpose in life.

“As you journey through life, it is not going to be easy. You see the accomplishment I have been able to achieve? It was not easy. I had hurdles along the way. I had a lot of people tell me no. I had a lot of people tell me that I couldn’t make it and I wouldn’t do it, but God placed something in me and I trusted and believed that I could do something with my talent,” she told them.

“It doesn’t have to be acting, but whatever God has placed in your heart that you feel could be a positive contribution to our earth, to our planet, to our people, to Guyana please focus on that and commit yourself for it to be of betterment and empowerment to others,” she told the children.

On the lighter side, some QC students who did not make it into the auditorium were pressed against the glass walls

looking in. One held up a sign asking Wright to be their Valentine.

“I see you, don’t worry, the sign, ‘ooh I got a Valentine” she said, and started to dance.

“Oh gosh, that means I have to come back in February, that means I am coming back home,” she said to loud cheers.

“So the answer is yes. I am a very simple girl. KFC is just fine but we can go Demico. We can go Church’s Chicken. I am very simple, very simple,” she said to even more cheers.

“Thank you for your love and support. Please be encouraged. I am the daughter of this soil. I am Guyanese. I am so proud to be Guyanese. And please, please keep chasing after your dreams, I love you all,” she ended her short address

She also had some words of wisdom for our politicians, making a short address to the National Assembly on Monday.

“… It means a lot to come back home. I just want to thank everyone that has invited me to return home and I just want to just encourage you all… I don’t know about the ins and outs of politics. I just care more about children and the development of young people. That’s kind of where my ministry is. But as you all come together to make decisions for the country, I encourage you both, from both sides, from both parties, I encourage peace, I encourage love. I am of peace, I am of love and I am just proud of you both and everybody that is working for the betterment and the empowerment of our country,” Wright addressed the parliamentarians.

Let’s hope they heed her advice. But knowing them, I doubt it.

Wright has been refreshing and I am sure she inspired many, especially the young. Let’s hope they remain inspired and follow their dreams and look to be positive in this life’s journey.

To our Wakanda star: keep doing you girl, we are cheering you on from this side.