|Black Panther Cast|
By Kanisha Parks
Black Panthercomes out next weekend and it’s already broken Fandango’s advance ticket sales record, becoming their #1 selling superhero of all time. Needless to say, we’ve been waiting for this movie long before its official trailer dropped back in October 2017 but now the anticipation is through the roof. My entire family and I have our tickets and outfits ready. #IssaCelebration. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Reviews are in for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, and they are easily the best for a Marvel Studios project to date, with almost everyone left in awe not only of the movie’s ambition, but its success in achieving that ambition on the big screen. As of Tuesday morning, the film has a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.”
The fact that this movie is called Black Panther is reason enough to raise intrigue, but there are several other reasons it's a huge deal for the world, but specifically, the black community.
|Chaswick Boseman & Michael B. Jordan|
1. For Us, By Us. Directed by Ryan Coogler, (who also directed Creed and Fruitvale Station), Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther alongside fellow heavy-hitters Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker. “Black Panther marks the first time that a major studio has greenlit a black superhero movie with an African-American director and a primarily black cast” (Variety).
Our representation in this film is present throughout: from the title to the director and actors. Even though it technically wasn’t made just for black people, we’re definitely laying claims and will likely constitute the greatest support for the film’s sales.
On whether or not a white director could’ve done Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman told Variety, “Well, is it possible for them to make it? It could be, yes. Would they have his perspective? Probably not. It wouldn’t be nuanced in the same way because they wouldn’t have the same conflict. They don’t have the African-American conflict that exists: Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you have an ancestry that is very hard to trace.”
2. It’s Been a Long Time Comin.’ We’ve had black roles in other superhero movies: Will Smith in “Suicide Squad,” and Halle Berry as “Catwoman,” and do we even have to talk about Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four? Other attempts at black superheroes as leads include Meteor Man, Blankman, Steel, Spawn, and most notably, Blade. In fact, Wesley Snipes even wanted to play Black Panther back in the early ‘90s but the vision was remarkably different—focused on cultural diversity instead of centered around black power—and never came to fruition. The time is now.
“We've been waiting to see ourselves onscreen, flying through the air and running across buildings and dodging laserblasts from bearded colonialists our entire lives. The future is Ryan Coogler, Chadwick Boseman, T'Challa, Black Panther. The future is here on February 16th” (Tre Johnson, Rolling Stone).
When asked why this is a good moment in history for this movie to be made, Chadwick Boseman responded, “Everybody is excited about the opportunity to do something that we should have already done. People are excited about seeing new stuff, but I think they're extra excited about seeing stuff they should have seen already” (CNET).
|Dunai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o & Florence Kasumba|
3. Strong. Black. Women. Yes, Black Panther is the lead character, but he doesn’t shine alone: he is surrounded by strong black women, which is truly a positive for black women and girls alike.
Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, an undercover spy for the fictitious African nation Wakanda in the film, says, “The man’s power does not diminish because the woman is assuming hers (power). So, just because I have power it does not mean that I threaten the man’s position.” Always an advocate for women and girls asserting themselves, Nyong’o adds: “Little girls watching it will perhaps, they won’t be so afraid of their power. We have four women in this film that are powerful in very different ways and that is really exciting to have that be the thing that our young ones are watching” (Hindustan Times).
With the current culture of how women are being treated in America, it’s important for women, especially black women, to be appropriately represented in the media. I’m glad that we have the opportunity to see ourselves represented on-screen as we truly are: beautiful, bold, brave, powerful women.
And I’m even gladder that we finally have our iconic superhero movie, created from start to finish with us in mind. It’s about time.
Why are you excited to see Black Panther?