Hammersmith-born actress makes history as first black female 007

Hammersmith-born actress Lashana Lynch hit the Royal Albert Hall’s red carpet on Tuesday night at the world premiere of No Time to Die.

Holding several ties to south west London, Lynch also attended ArtsEd drama school in Chiswick, before her meteoric rise to stardom.

The long-awaited James Bond film is reported to be Daniel Craig’s last with the franchise, which has unsurprisingly left fans speculating his successor.

Although Tom Hardy, Regé-Jean Page and Aidan Turner remain popular candidates to replace Craig as Bond, Lynch has already inherited the title of 007 and has entered the frame to become the new face of the franchise.

Performing the role of Nomi, a high skilled operative and ally to Bond in No Time to Die, she took on the codename after the protagonist left MI6 at the end of Spectre.

Despite dividing opinion amongst Bond fans, the decision has revolutionised the franchise and given more prominence to its black, female characters.

In 2020, producer Barbara Broccoli informed Variety of her plans to strengthen women in the films, whilst not necessarily re-gendering Bond.

“Bond can be of any colour, but he is male,” explained Broccoli.

“I believe we should be creating new characters for women — strong female characters.

‘I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”

The character of Nomi in No Time to Die undoubtedly measured up to Broccoli’s statement, with Lynch likely to reprise her role in the franchise’s future.

In April 2019, Lynch received a storm of online abuse after she, a black actress, was leaked as the successor to 007’s title.

Following a short break from social media, she had to remind herself that the backlash was nothing personal, and that the conversation needed to take place.

“I am one black woman – if it were another black woman cast in the role, it would have been the same conversation. She would have got the same attacks, the same abuse,” Lynch said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar.

“I just have to remind myself that the conversation is happening and that I’m a part of something that will be very, very revolutionary,” she added.

Yesterday at the Royal Albert Hall, Lynch sported bright yellow to the No Time to Die premiere, paying homage to her Jamaican heritage.

The custom Vivienne Westwood gown also featured an embroidered hummingbird, the national bird of Jamaica.

By performing Nomi as a powerful, proficient black woman in No Time to Die, Lynch has both shaken up the 007 mantle and stirred the future of Bond: whether she becomes a future protagonist in the franchise however, only time will tell.

Featured image credit: MTV International via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 3.0 license

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