The new movie Surrounded shows us a side of old west we don’t normally get to see on film. The well-reviewed movie, out now for digital rental, tells the fictional story of Buffalo Soldier Mo Washington, a Black woman in 1870 who had to pass as a man in order to travel west to lay claim on a gold mine. She’s played by Black Panther star Letitia Wright, who tells ABC Audio the idea of Black women in the West may seem “clearly … made up, but it’s not.”
“You know, you have an example in history of Cathay Williams, who was a part of the Buffalo Soldiers,” Wright continues. “She was a Black woman hiding, you know, and masking her identity to survive, really. And they didn’t know that she was a woman.”
The film was also an eye-opening experience for the Guyana and London-raised actress, who admits, “There was a lot that was missing from my experience as a kid with understanding cowboy culture and, you know, Black cowboys as well and just how embedded in that history they are … but definitely know a little bit more now.”
Surrounded co-stars Michael K. Williams in one of his last roles before dying of a drug overdose in 2021, and Wright says she loved working with him on the film.
“I actually experienced my first Thanksgiving with him,” she recalls. “We were in New Mexico and we threw this little party at my house. Michael came over and it was just vibes, man. Vibes and good energy and positivity and yeah, that is such a a shame to lose someone so beautiful and such a great artist as well. So I’ll always cherish all those moments that we had on and off screen forever.”
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