Winston Duke Tells A Funny Story About Blowing It When He Met Rihanna, And How His Buddy Roasted Him After

M'Baku (Winston Duke) in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Celebrities being starstruck by other celebrities is nothing new. They’ll have a crush on someone famous before obtaining fame themselves, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Winston Duke is no different. Duke had a serious crush on pop superstar Rihanna. Making his big-screen debut as M’Baku in Black Panther afforded him the chance to finally meet her. But once the chance presented itself, things didn’t go as planned. The Wakanda Forever star revealed a funny story about blowing it when he met the Super Bowl halftime performer, and how his buddy roasted him afterward.

The Black Panther star spilled about the embarrassing interaction while promoting Wakanda Forever on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. After achieving A-list status following the first film’s blockbuster success, Duke finally got the chance to meet his celebrity crush. He met Rihanna at a Hollywood party in 2019. The MCU star recalled being starstruck upon first seeing the pop singer in real-time. He spilled to Fallon that he went into the exchange with a game plan to connect over their Caribbean background and art. That night, he was on a mission to impress the “Lift Me Up” singer. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned after Duke’s friend set him up for the introduction.

I saw her and a friend introduced, and I was like, ‘Hey, my friend wasn’t supposed to be so crass, he knows I love you.’ She goes, ‘Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you.’ And I was like, ‘I’m Winston Duke.’ She was like, 'I’m aware of who you are.’ And she looked at me and she was like, ‘Yeah, I know exactly who you are.’ And I was like, ‘Ah, ha.’ Oh, I folded like fresh laundry, my friend. I was stunned, I was like, ‘So, um, buh, bah… Well, uh, where did you come from?’ That was it, that was my line, that was it, that’s what came out… She said, ‘My house.’ I aborted. I aborted immediately, I was like, ‘It’s such a pleasure meeting you,’ and I walked off.

Well, that didn’t go well for the A-lister. After being dressed down by the Grammy winner, Duke had no choice but to walk away with his tail tucked between his legs. His Rihanna story is nothing new as countless men in Hollywood have been awestruck by her sheer confidence and nonchalant personality. That’s why he “folded like fresh laundry” in her presence.

After being turned down by Rihanna, his humiliation didn’t end there. The Us actor retreated to his friend after he failed to impress the pop singer. But instead of finding comfort, his guy friend went into roast mode while pushing Duke to approach the “Umbrella” singer again.

And my boy came, was like, ‘So how’d it go?’ And I was like, ‘I asked her where she was from.’… And he was like, ‘From heaven, fool! You know! You know where she’s from! Go back, go back, get on the horse!’ And I was like, ‘No, man…’

Duke was defeated after his failed interaction, and his pal didn’t help the situation. But guys will be guys. Sometimes, men get roasted a little bit before boosting someone’s confidence.

But his Rihanna interaction wasn’t a total failure as it was announced the Spenser Confidential actor would be part of the all-star lineup for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4, which premieres through an Amazon Prime Video subscription on November 9. That was on the heels of the pop singer releasing her first song in six years for Black Panther 2, following those rumors of her joining the cast in 2020. Getting the fashion mogul to return to music took some convincing from director Ryan Coogler.

While he eventually connected with Rihanna, fans will finally see Winston Duke’s return as M’Baku when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on November 11. With the Black Panther sequel set as the Phase Four finale, there are still new Marvel movies being released in 2023, including Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).