Black Panther Actress Gets Heat For Raising Questions On Rushed Covid Vaccine

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Written by Ann Brown
Black Panther
Actress Gets Heat For Raising Questions On Rushed Covid Vaccine Photo courtesy Marvel-Film Fandom Black Panther

Many Black people are distrustful of the new covid-19 vaccines. Count “Black Panther” actress Letita Wright among them.

The British-Guyanese actress posted an anti-covid vaccine video on social media and she received backlash from fellow other actors and the general public.

Wright, 27, portrayed Shuri, a princess of the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda, in the 2018 superhero film based on Marvel Comics’ “Black Panther.”

In an hour-long video entitled “Covid-19 Vaccine: Should We Take It?” Wright posted questions about the safety of covid-19 vaccines. The video presenter, self-professed prophet Tomi Arayomi, talks about his own reluctance to take one of the vaccines. “I don’t understand vaccines medically, but I’ve always been a little bit of a skeptic of them,” Arayomi said.

The video, previously posted on the YouTube channel “On The Table,” not only questions the legitimacy of the covid-19 vaccine, but accuses China of spreading the pandemic. YouTube has removed the video for violating its terms of service, NBC News reported.

Arayomi says in the clip, “We can just get that (the vaccine) out there and hope it doesn’t make extra limbs grow, hope to God you don’t develop children that have 11 fingers and 12 toes. We are hoping for the best. We have seen vaccines do damage before.”

Fellow Marvel Universe star, Don Cheadle, blasted Wright’s post, saying that he would “never defend anybody posting this.”

“The War Machine” star retweeted Wright’s comment about the video and added, “Bye, Letitia,” — a nod to the “Bye, Felicia” meme.

But Cheadle later deleted his initial tweet after admitting that he had yet to  watch the video. After viewing the clip, Cheadle backtracked in a follow-up tweet on his earlier call for Wright to be canceled. He also confirmed that he’ll be having a private word with her off Twitter, We Got This Covered reported.

Cheadle tweeted, “Jesus… just scrolled through. hot garbage. every time i stopped and listened, he and everything he said sounded crazy and fkkkd up,” Cheadle wrote. “i would never defend anybody posting this. but i still won’t throw her away over it. the rest i’ll take off twitter. had no idea.”

Wright and Arayomi aren’t alone in their skepticism about the vaccine. Many in the Black community feel the same way and worry that the vaccine was rushed to the market.

“African Americans definitely have reasons to be skeptical.” Vanessa Greene, CEO of the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, told WLNS.

That mistrust is often associated with the Tuskegee Experiment that began in 1932 and lasted 40-year. Doctors used Black men “as lab rats to study the effects of untreated syphilis. The men didn’t know this because doctors lied to them, saying they were being treated for bad blood,” WLNS reported.

“That’s still concerning to African Americans,” Greene said.

Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan has voiced his doubts about the covid-19 vaccine. During a speech at the recent Black Leadership Summit, Farrakhan said Black people need vitamin D from sunlight to combat covid-19, not a vaccine.

“Do you know why the virus is not getting the Caribbean like it’s hitting America and Europe?” he asked. “Because we live in the sun.”

Some Black celebrities oppose vaccines in general.

Lisa Bonet has not spoken publicly about the covid-19 vaccine, but “The Cosby Show” actress came out as an anti-vaxxer in 1990. On “The Donahue Show,” she said that vaccines could potentially “introduce alien microorganisms into our children’s blood” and linked vaccines to “cancer, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome,” Newsweek reported. 

Grammy Award-winning singer Toni Braxton, who has an autistic son, has said publicly that she believes vaccines are linked to autism.

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Wright defended her anti-vaccine beliefs on Twitter. While the “Small Axe” actress later deleted the video from her Twitter account, she called out those who tried to cancel her for disagreeing with “popular opinion,” Page Six reported.

“if you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself….you get cancelled [laugh emoji],” Wright tweeted. That tweet and the video have since been removed.

Wright explained why she posted the video on Twitter, saying, “my intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else.”