World James Bond Day marks a special occasion, and the start of a new decade brought a groundbreaking moment with Lashana Lynch making her debut as 007 in “No Time To Die.” While Daniel Craig still holds the title role of Bond, the inclusion of Lashana Lynch as a 007 agent is a significant step in the storied history of Black women in the Bond franchise.
Black women have been part of the Bond universe in various capacities, from bodyguards to government agents to the iconic character Moneypenny. They haven’t merely been extras; they’ve made their presence felt and left lasting impressions on the franchise.
Trina Parks, in 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” portrayed the first Black woman bodyguard in a Bond film. Her character, Thumper, was a nimble karate expert who gave Bond a run for his money. While her role wasn’t extensive, it marked the beginning of Black women making their mark in Bond movies.
A few years later, Gloria Hendry joined the Bond franchise in a credited role as CIA agent Rosie Carver in “Live and Let Die.” While Rosie’s character met an unfortunate fate early in the film, Hendry’s presence paved the way for future Black women in Bond films.
Bond girl Gloria Hendry, 74, now lives in Beverly Hills – 50 years after starring in Live and Let Die opposite Roger Moore. She said that the passion between them was a sore point for his wife.
In 1985, Grace Jones made a significant impact in “A View to a Kill” as May Day, an iconic character who was a bodyguard, lover, and enforcer for the film’s antagonist. May Day played a crucial role in the plot and saved Bond, Silicon Valley, and the world.
Halle Berry joined the Bond franchise in 2002 as Jinx, an NSA operative and a love interest for Bond in “Die Another Day.” Jinx played a pivotal role in the plot and shared the spotlight with Bond, showcasing her action prowess and survival skills.
In 2012, Naomie Harris introduced a new dimension to the character of Moneypenny in “Skyfall.” She is the first black actress to play Moneypenny, unlike previous incarnations, Harris’s Moneypenny was no mere secretary but an active participant in missions, even behind the wheel during high-speed pursuits. Harris also became the first Black woman to reprise her role in subsequent Bond films.
“No Time to Die,” broke new ground with two Black women in significant speaking roles. Lashana Lynch’s character asserts herself as the new 007, marking a powerful moment in the franchise’s history.
As a new decade dawns, there’s hope for a Bond movie with a Black woman in the leading role, reflecting the evolution of roles for Black women in the Bond universe. The Bond franchise is gradually embracing diversity and change.