By Kurt Campbell
Tears flowed, voices cracked and altogether it was a moment of piloerection for thousands of Guyanese as 29-year-old UK-based Guyanese actress Letitia Wright was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Letters (honorary) in her home country.
The highlight of the extraordinary convocation ceremony at the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus on Wednesday was Wright sharing insights of how she broke through barriers and scaled to her accomplishments at such a young age.
“I always waited for my time,” she said in her acceptance speech themed by a message of humility and the results of trusting God for exaltation.
In addition to receiving her paper certificate and being apparelled in the honorary doctoral robe, Wright was adorned throughout the morning’s proceedings with words fitting of her accomplishment and character.
Actress extraordinaire, doyen of the screen, student and exponent of the art of film, stage actress intellectual and cultural ambassador – Letitia is respected as a Guyanese who is an exemplar of the international motion picture industry who just starred as the Black Panther – a fictional character – in the movie Wakanda Forever.
It’s an elevation from her original role as Shuri, the sister of the late Chadwick Boseman who first starred as the Black Panther.
Through song, poems, musical interludes and an emotional oration, Wright received unceasing congratulations for her stellar performance.
Her honour is the University of Guyana’s highest credit given to only 10 others in the institution’s 60-year history.
It was bestowed by Vice Chancellor Dr. Paloma Mohamed in the presence of other Council members and the Chancellor who appeared virtually.
A child of Guyana’s soil, Letitia repeatedly reminded in her acceptance speech.
“As the years went by and as God was able to use my talent, I always made it known to everyone in Hollywood that I am from Guyana.
“This country is a part of who I am. This country is in my bloodline. I go home and there is pepperpot and bread. I go home and there is Guyana in the very fabric of all that I do and all that I am. I have not been home but home has not left me,” Wright noted.
She recalled the biblical teaching of a wedding banquet and the need to not rush for the high seat but to take the lowly seat and wait for the person who is in charge to honour you.
“I carry that in my career and life and I share it with you today.
“No matter where you are going, where your path is, do it with humility and trust that God will exalt you when it is time.”
She also talked of the hard work and support of her family, her faith and praying, self-doubt and depression and more importantly when she got the call for the role in Black Panther and immediately knew her life would change forever.
“I accept this honour as I continue to journey on in my career and path, I just want to thank you forever. I love you as you love me and I am proud of you as you are proud of me, Guyana.”
Admiration to Letitia for her achievement and congratulation to be bestowed such an honorary recognition by the UofG. You exemplify what it means to be a true child of Guyana, not only by your achievement so far but by the humbleness you portray as well. I salute you and wish you continued success in you future endeavors.