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From Brighton High School to Wakanda: Winston Duke remembers his days in Rochester

“Rochester Forever, that’s what it is. 585,” Winston Duke proclaimed at the beginning of our interview. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM)- He's a big star on the big screen, playing the role of M'Baku in the Marvel blockbuster hit "Black Panther."

But Winston Duke will never forget his days in Rochester.

“Rochester Forever, that’s what it is. 585,” Winston Duke proclaimed at the beginning of our interview.

Duke attended Brighton High School before going on to the University at Buffalo and Yale.

“Garbage plates-that’s what I remember. I remember the Lilac Festival, Charlotte Beach. I loved my time in Rochester and in Brighton,” Duke said.

At Brighton High School, Duke was on the wrestling and track and field teams, and played football.

That's also where he tapped into a talent.

“It’s Rochester and Brighton where I found my dream to be an actor or my dream to be an actor found me. My Spanish teacher Mrs. Speer is the one who said to me, ‘you come alive when you’re in front of people.’ When I was just a shy kid,” Duke recalled.

You could say Duke broke out of his shell.

He’s now a symbol of power and pride that "Black Panther" brought to many.

“People felt like they could reclaim a history that to some degree felt lost with images that felt familiar but not present,” said Duke.

“I’m from Trinidad and Tobago, there was an African beauty pageant attached to the film and there were dancers and drums and all these beautiful things, people are really being jazzed about all the pageantry and beauty and honor that was associated with this movie and that feels great and powerful.”

That meaning is not lost on him.

“I know the movie means a lot to people,” said Duke.

Duke says the ‘585’ has stayed with him and helped shape who he is today.

Black Panther is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Click here for the full interview with Winston Duke

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