April 20, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter makes Walk of Fame history

The Hollywood Walk of Fame just gained a historic new star.

As of Thursday, movie-industry legend Ruth E. Carter is the first Black costume designer and second costume designer ever to have her name enshrined at Hollywood and Vine. The honor comes more than 60 years after prolific costumer Edith Head became the first in her field to receive a star.

“As I have been reflecting, I think of all the people whom I’ve met along the way who have helped make this happen,” Carter said during Thursday’s virtual ceremony.

“I’ve collaborated with so many of you — directors, actors, producers, friends, artists, family. Know that you are in my heart. It is full with the deepest gratitude for being able to tell our stories by any means necessary. Thank you for seeing the depth of culture, history, artistry and welcoming my vision of Afro-future into the lexicon of American filmmaking.”

In 2019, Carter became the first Black woman to win a costume-design Oscar for her work on the seminal Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther,” starring the late Chadwick Boseman. Her myriad credits include “Love & Basketball,” “Selma” and longtime collaborator Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.”

Comedy icon Eddie Murphy, who has joined forces with Carter for seven films during his career, was among those who paid tribute to the costume designer during this week’s livestream. Most recently, Murphy worked with Carter on the 2020 awards-season darling “Dolemite Is My Name” and the highly anticipated 2021 sequel to “Coming to America.”

“Ruth Carter is a genius,” Murphy said via video chat. “Of all the movies I have done over the years, I’ve never had a wardrobe designer [like Carter] whose clothes actually influence how you play your character — how you walk, how you stand. She really is instrumental in bringing your characters to life. There’s no one like her. … And I am so happy that she is being recognized this way.”

Also invited to speak at Carter’s Walk of Fame induction was TV mogul Oprah Winfrey, who collaborated with the visionary creative on the 2013 White House drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-winning Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, “Selma.”

“What I first observed on ‘The Butler’ and then again on ‘Selma’ was a woman who was deeply intentional about creating clothing to represent the culture and journey of African Americans,” Winfrey said.

“Ruth holds within her an awareness of cultural knowledge of our history, and is able to beautifully weave the two together to create fully formed characters before they even speak a word.”

Among the many entertainment luminaries who took to social media to congratulate Carter on her latest achievement were Halle Berry, Carmen Ejogo and Arsenio Hall, who stars opposite Murphy in the forthcoming Carter project, “Coming 2 America,” premiering March 5 on Amazon Prime Video.

“To all my fans who enjoy my movies and see themselves so much so, you show up dressed in costume, it’s my desire to continue to inspire you,” Carter said. “Most of all, I dedicate this star to all the young aspiring filmmakers. … When you gaze upon my star, feel my energy. Feel the power of your own unique story to realize your dreams, so you too can reach your star. Wakanda forever.”