My second freebie list entry (though these are in no particular order) is Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the English actress who broke out in 2014 with excellent performances in the underrated films Belle and Beyond the Lights. Mbatha-Raw is back this holiday season playing the wife of Will Smith’s character in Concussion, a film about the NFL’s coverup of serious medical issues.
Mbatha-Raw first caught my attention in 2010 when she starred in J.J. Abrams’ short-lived series Undercovers, about a married couple retired from the CIA who are called back into service as undercover agents. Her male co-star was the handsome, chiseled Boris Kodjoe, which made Undercovers a treat for both me and my wife.
Mbatha-Raw then fell off my radar until last year’s reemergence in that pair of critically-lauded films. She’s not only drop-dead gorgeous but has a vulnerability and gravity that really sets her apart.
Those qualities aren’t front and center in this clip, a fake music video from Beyond the Lights. Apart from the bookends, where you see pop star Noni’s reluctance to continue playing this sexed-up role, this is a faithful recreation of your typical Rihanna-like music video.