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Letitia Wright is best known for playing “Black Panther” super-sister Shuri, but in Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology film series, Wright embodies a different sort of superhero in British activist Altheia Jones-LeCointe. The actor admits to being uneasy stepping into her shoes.

“This story hasn’t been told in a mainstream, cinematic and media way before, so you’re a bit nervous because you want to do it justice, you want to represent her right,” Wright tells Variety of playing the real-life figure. “Getting through that was the first obstacle and [then] definitely just feeling an honor because you don’t get roles like this all the time. These don’t come in your inbox all the time, so when you get them, you honor them [and] you cherish them. Then meeting her added that layer of responsibility, and an excitement and gratitude for being able to be trusted to be the vessel for her story.”

Jones-LeCointe is known as one of the Mangrove Nine — who were arrested in 1970 after a peaceful march protesting police harassment in England turned into a clash with cops. The demonstrators had been particularly inflamed by a slew of relentless police raids on the Mangrove, a West Indian restaurant in London’s Notting Hill. The restaurant’s owner Frank Crichlow (played by Shaun Parkes) was among those arrested. Jones-LeCointe, a leader of the Black Panther movement in England, represented herself in the highly publicized trial, notably held at the Old Bailey — a high court reserved for treason and murder cases. The jury ultimately acquitted all nine defendants of the main charge of inciting a riot, though Jones-LeCointe and three others received suspended lesser sentences on charges that included affray and assaulting police officers. The story of the “Mangrove Nine” was a landmark case in Britain’s history, but the particulars of the incident have oft gone unmentioned, especially on a global scale.

“We are honored that this story is getting the attention it’s getting. It shows a respect and honor for those who are part of the Mangrove Nine, alive and those who have passed away,” Wright says of the film’s relevance today. “We’re diving into a world 50 years prior and what we were dealing with as a community and as Black people within the U.K. And then 50 years onwards, we’re seeing that there’s still an issue there, an issue that needs to be addressed and an issue that needs to come to an end. Not only in the U.K., but across the world … everywhere just needs to have peace and love and unity, fairness for each other. It’s just a big scream for justice, that is important for us to apply ourselves to and to get right.”

In an effort to really “get it right” when it came to this story, Wright met with Jones-LeCointe while crafting her onscreen performance.

“I asked her a lot and it was mostly about the authenticity of what was written about her, and if she’s okay with certain things being said, and she educated me on that,” Wright recalls.

Something Jones-Lecointe shared “changed me in a sense,” Wright says: “Just the sadness that she felt in the lack of love that we had for each other and the lack of love that we had for ourselves as a people — loving ourselves, loving our skin, loving our hair, loving our culture, and being bold to represent that and own that.”

The profound sentiment caused Wright to take stock of how she regards herself as a Black person.

“That made me walk away and really think about how I can be a bridge for positivity, or for my own community as a young person. And it also made me look at myself and question, ‘Do I love myself? Do I love my hair? Do I love it, whether it’s straight or curly or Afro? Do I love myself and love my skin? And am I confident in myself as a Black woman?,’” the actor explains. “I realized a lot of insecurities were hidden back there. She helped me to form a new sense of love for myself, which she didn’t know she did, but she does now.”

Wright also found McQueen particularly inspiring, listing him atop her wish list of collaborators, alongside Ryan Coogler (her “Black Panther” director) and Barry Jenkins.

“The one thing that did bless me a lot was the fact that he trusted me and the fact that he would encourage me in the midst of doing a scene. He would praise, he would congratulate, he would lift up in the midst of a scene,” Wright says. “He didn’t wait till the premiere, he didn’t wait until the ADR session, where he can pull you to the side and say, ‘Okay, I like what you did there.’ He did it on set — he cherished and nurtured my talent right there, right then, and gave me advice right there, right then. And I honor him for that as a director. So it was brilliant working with him, but it was also brilliant to be given a beautiful pat on the back to say, ‘You’re doing a good job.’”

And as a bonus, Wright appears in the film series with her close friend and fellow superstar John Boyega, who plays the trailblazing Black Metro police officer Leroy Logan in “Red, White and Blue,” which begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 4.

“We’re actively looking for something to work on where we can be on the same set, and in the same frame together,” Wright says. “But I’m so proud of him and I love him as an artist. I love him as a filmmaker, as a producer. And I’m so honored to see him work and put projects out that mean something because when he does that, he really is a vessel for great stories, and he will continue to be that vessel. I’m just proud of him. I just need a project with him, just me and him on the same frame.”

Boyega and Wright met as students at London’s Identity School of Acting, years before starring in blockbuster franchises (“Star Wars” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, respectively). Boyega says it’s been particularly enjoyable watching his friend’s Hollywood journey and helping support each other through it.

“It’s funny, because when Letitia went through her big transition with ‘Black Panther,’ I call it transition because it’s like, ‘Babe, you ain’t broke no mo,’” Boyega says. “So when she went through that transition, I understood the isolation that would come with it, that she’d disappear for a while. And that’s what it’s been like for a while, you don’t really get to see each other.”

Boyega continues: “We were developing a project together a few years ago and then, after that, started speaking while I was going through some internal industry transitions with my representation. We spoke about so many different things that we had been going through, and through this process is great to know that I can pick up the phone and speak to Letitia, and we can relate on certain things. But also there’s things to learn; her perspective is different to mine on certain things and so to be able to just talk and relate in that way, and we share an agent [Identity School founder Femi Oguns] which is great, so it’s a family function.”

“Mangrove” and “Lovers Rock” are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, while the remaining four “Small Axe” films will be released every Friday through Dec. 18.