Friday, May 7, 2021

Black Women of Bond: Franchise Still Has Room to Further Diversify

Gloria Hendry as "Rosie Carver" in Live and Let Die
Gloria Hendry as “Rosie Carver” in Live and Let Die

*Former Bond girls Trina Parks and Gloria Hendry joined current Bond girl Naomie Harris and Halle Berry at the African American Film Critics Association in Hollywood on Tuesday for the Black Women of Bond Tribute at the California African American Museum.

While playing a Bond girl in the James Bond movies is often a career-defining role, the “007” actresses acknowledge that the franchise still has a ways to go when it comes to diversifying. Over the course of its 53 years in cinema, the franchise has only featured five black actresses:

Gloria Hendry as “Rosie Carver” in “Live and Let Die”
Trina Parks as “Thumper” in “Diamonds are Forever”
Grace Jones as “May Day” in “A View to a Kill”
Halle Berry as “Jinx” in “Die Another Day”
Naomie Harris as “Eve Moneypenny” in “Skyfall” and “SPECTRE”

“That’s not a good thing, for only five of us to have been a part of (Bond),” said “Live and Let Die” actress Gloria Hendry, who made history as the first black Bond girl to be romantically involved with the British secret agent.

“When I was asked to do this movie, I said, ‘I’m not tall, I’m not blue-eyed, I’m not busty and I’m not white. What do they want me for?’” she remembered. “A week later I was cast for it.”

Hendry is a former Playboy model and 70’s actress, most notable for her portrayal as Rosie Carver in 1973’s “Live and Let Die,” which was Roger Moore´s first Bond film; and for her role as Helen Bradley in the blaxploitation film “Black Caesar” and the sequel, “Hell Up in Harlem.”

Halle Berry as "Jinx" in Die Another Day
Halle Berry as “Jinx” in Die Another Day

Variety notes how at one time there were plans for a spinoff featuring Halle Berry’s Jinx character from “Die Another Day.”

Hendry said she’d co-sign a female Bond played by Berry. “I think that would be very interesting and I’ll play her henchman!”

When Halle was cast as Jinx in 2002’s “Die Another Day,” she was the first black Bond girl for 17 years. Berry said that her time on “Die Another Day” had bonded her with her fellow “007” women for life.

“To be a part of this legacy is a huge honor; it’s a highlight of my career,” said Berry. “It’s one of the best experiences of my entire life.”

Trina Parks as "Thumper" in Diamonds are Forever
Trina Parks as “Thumper” in Diamonds are Forever

Trina made history as the first African-American actress to be cast as a Bond girl. The chocolate beauty starred opposite Sean Connery in 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” playing the feisty nemesis Thumper.  Of course, being black wouldn’t allow for her to play a romantic partner to Bond, but she did hold her own in the scene stealing bikini moment for her meeting with the charming leading man.

Brooklyn-born Parks admits that she had no idea who James Bond was before she auditioned for her character. “I had a short afro at the time and I said, ‘The character is strong, but she’s also sexy and other Bond girls have been that way, so why can’t I?’” she said.

Grace Jones as "May Day" in A View to a Kill
Grace Jones as “May Day” in A View to a Kill

Grace Jones starred as superhuman May Day in 1985’s “A View to a Kill,” and in it, Bond is pitted against Max Zorin, who plans to destroy California’s Silicon Valley. Grace played Zorin’s lover and chief henchwoman.

Naomie is currently promoting the latest film with star Daniel Craig, and she has previously admitted to being thrilled that she is the first black actress to play M’s secretary Eve Moneypenny. In a recent interview with MORE magazine, she said: ‘I love that I’m representing a Bond woman to admire, not just t**s and a**.’

“Growing up in London, there were not many representations of black female beauty growing up. I really have to thank Bond and the franchise for being forward-thinking,” said Harris.

“Spectre” is NOW playing in theaters in the U.S.

Peep the enticing gallery of Black Bond Women below:

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.



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