By Sarah Rodman
December 31, 2020 at 01:27 PM EST
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Tessa Thompson is known to millions as fierce Marvel superheroine Valkyrie, Michael B. Jordan’s loving sparring partner in the Creed films, and an icy exec on Westworld. The 37-year-old L.A. native can currently be heard on the thriller podcast The Left Right Game and stars in the ultraromantic film Sylvie’s Love (out now on Amazon Prime Video). In her Must List, she shares her pop culture inspirations.

Credit: Jeong Park/NETFLIX

MOVIES: The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)

"Radha Blank is revelatory — as a writer, director, and performer. I loved how singular this film was... felt like an answer to a kind of film I have been so hungry to see. I’ve not seen a Black woman inhabit this space on screen, and I was left hungry to be in another world that Radha paints."

Credit: Simon + Schuster

BOOKS: Heads of the Colored People: Stories, by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (2018)

"I am very obsessed with this writer. The way she moves between sharp, satirical observations to a rare kind of sweetness is such a delight and entirely her own. She deals with being a Black face in white spaces in a way I’ve never encountered. Her words make me feel less alone."

Credit: Yannis Drakoulidis/HBO

TV: We Are Who We Are (HBO, 2020)

"I really appreciated the pacing on this beautiful show, unlike anything I’ve seen on television — but entirely all the things I’ve come to love about [executive producer] Luca Guadagnino. The music (scored by the brilliant Devonté Hynes) and setting (oh, to be in his Italy, even on an American Army base!) are as much characters as any of the leads."

Credit: Grand Closing

MUSIC: Vergangenheitsbewältigung (Crater Speak), by Slauson Malone (2020)

"I love this record. The art that I’ve most wanted to take in during this time has to do with portals to fall into and cope with uncertainty. This transported me out of the house into a boundless space to dream and get cozy with not knowing."

Credit: Julieta Cervantes

STAGE: Fairview (2018)

"This Jackie Sibblies Drury play was the last one I saw, and it was one of the most electrifying theatrical experiences of my life — and will likely remain so, even after we return to the theater. So seldom does the artful execution of a thesis resonate in such an immediate way."

BONUS: Bloom & Plume Coffee (Los Angeles)

"Colorful confection of the most delicious coffee and snacks by floral mastermind Maurice Harris. This time has made me appreciate supporting the businesses that are pillars of the community. This is a soft place to land."

A version of this story appears in the January 2021 issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now or available here. (You can also pick up the full set of six covers here.) Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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