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.”

Chadwick Boseman
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?
Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected] 
Lupita Nyong'o at the premiere of Black Panther in Hollywood
Hey Ya'll,

We could all use a little fashion fix once in a while and who better to bring it to us than our girl Taneica, from Tea With Taneica! This media personality, news producer, mommy, wife, friend, tea sipper, and shade thrower who loves Jesus (you know we lifted that from her IG page, go follow it now!) will have you cackling at your desk as she recaps the week's most eye-catching red carpet looks! Up this week is the hot-like-fiyah Black Panther premiere and more! Please like, subscribe and follow Taneica's page, and be on the look out for more of The Fashioning, right here on CN! 

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By Mwabi Kaira

In the ongoing conversation about skin hues and how uncomfortable the world seems to be with dark skin, Academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o has fared well and seems to have come through pretty unscathed since emerging in the public eye back in 2013. Other than former NBA player Gilbert Arenas dumb remarks about Lupita only being cute with the lights off, Lupita is a media darling and well loved and accepted. She is a red carpet favorite and always makes the best dressed lists. She has been on the cover of multiple magazines including Vogue, Elle, Essence, In Style, Marie Claire, Glamour, and was even named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful while making the cover. She is the face of Lancome ads, and has dolls made in her likeness. Her poise and classiness are bar none and the fact that she has accomplished everything while celebrating her natural beauty make her the epitome of black girl magic.

Lupita will team with Simon & Schuster to write her debut children’s book “Sulwe."


The picture book is aimed at readers between the ages of 5 and 7. “Sulwe,” means “star” in Luo, Lupita’s native tongue and is the story of a 5-year-old girl growing up in Kenya. Sulwe has the darkest skin color in her family, a fact that makes her uncomfortable and determined to find a way to lighten her skin. As the story unfolds, Sulwe embarks on a whimsical adventure in the night sky that, coupled with advice from her mother, helps her see beauty differently.

Lupita was not always the self-confident Goddess we know now and gave a speech about it in 2014 at an Essence Women in Hollywood Luncheon. The speech went viral and was a pivotal point for young girls who thought lightening their skin would make them feel more beautiful. She encouraged them by saying,
“I hope that my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel validation of your external beauty, but also, get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.” 
 The speech going viral is where the idea of “Sulwe” was born explains Lupita,
“I felt really grateful that it had this impact and at that time it occurred to me that there was an audience that this was resonating with, but the age group that really needed to hear this wouldn’t necessarily hear the speech.”
Dark skin is not just an issue in predominantly African countries; South America, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and South Korea are all countries who sell skin lightening creams. The sad untrue belief is that lighter skin gives you a better life. Sulwe’s story will resonate with children from all over the world and teach them that self love and acceptance are the key. Children learn life lessons at an early age and books are a huge way in which they learn.

“Sulwe” will hit the shelves next January. Will you buy it?

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at

John Boyega
By Elena Karimi

Have you guys noticed the buzz surrounding Star Wars, The Last Jedi lately? Apparently, some Star Wars fans have become skeptical about the new kind of diversity in Star Wars. They may not be many, but they have made sufficient noise. On the 15th of December 2017, The Wire ran an article stating that Star Wars: The Last Jedi Will Bother Some People. The sentiment has been repeated in the media and some people have been bothered greatly. Unfortunately, the best aspect of Star Wars, diversity, is ironically being used against it.

Star Wars has always been one of my favorite franchises due to the diverse life introduced from the beginning. It caught my attention and retained it. By diversity, I don’t mean humans, I mean all the types of diversity that can be mixed together to make things exciting. Women, men, young, old, different skin colors, different sexual orientations, and different origins, etc. A black man from Kenya is not representation for all black men, because he could never adequately represent a black man from the Bahamas or Surinam, for example. Star Wars’ diversity has been exemplary – creature wise - Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt and his crew of creatures, Yoda the wise and the smart adorable BB-8. In The Last Jedi, the Lanais, Thala-sirens, Fathiers and the Vulptices were introduced. All these creatures and droids have been referred to as amazing, fantastic creatures. But, as soon as John Boyega removed that trooper helmet and showed his black mutt, it became a humongous issue.

John Boyega
The whistles and drums were out to announce danger and gloom, the end of the great wars. According to the doomsayers and cynics, diversity was literally killing a billion-dollar business although most objective studies have found that diversity is good for business. Note: I have not even got to mentioning the insidious Darth and the sinister Snoke and all his minions.

Most things that happen around me remind me of Kenya so it is no surprise that the Star Wars buzz reminds me of tourists coming to Kenya. I grew up hearing how resilient we Kenyans were. Brave, industrious and entrepreneurial. Generous and hospitable. Good tempered and fun loving, making lemonade from all lemons left behind by the travelers, the occupiers, the democracy vendors, the religion traders and the civilization experts. At 18, I started working at a Tourist Agency in Nairobi and most tourists were in Kenya shortly, sometimes, for less than a month. In addition to the feedback form, I would ask every tourist that came through our travel agency about their experiences with the Kenyan people. Mostly, all I heard was high praise for the animals. The geography and geology since both the Equator and the Rift Valley run through the country. The exceptional flamingoes, the incredibly blue waters and the white sands of the Indian ocean etc.

It took me four years to understand that the Kenyan people were invisible in most tourists’ eyes. Except when they did something wrong, something negative. How dare they interrupt the reverie? They were robbers, hence Nairobery. They were poor, hence aid. They were promiscuous and sexually irresponsible, hence HIV and AIDS. Corrupt, therefore, they deserved the corrupt government. Ignorant and un-strategic, therefore electing the wrong leaders. Loose morals, therefore prostitution. Violent, hence unrest during and after every election. You name it, the Kenyan people were it, just not the positive stuff though. Well, except the Maasais who were beautiful! Almost comparable to the lions and leopards. I am digressing.

Lupita Nyong'o
My point is, Maz is a Maasai. [Spoiler Alert]. In a costume, an attire, a mask and in The Last Jedi, she is shoved into an extraterrestrial glass bowl. Her brief appearance makes it easier to miss her. This is how Maz can be so fantastic, adored and Finn, well, not. I am a Maz and Lupita fan, don’t get me wrong! Of the over 20 human characters in Last Jedi, there are only four persons that qualify to be pushed into the diversity needle-eye: Finn, Rose, Paige and Maz. When Lupita joined the Star Wars franchise, I barely knew she was there. The silence was deafening, except on her Instagram and Twitter. No trolls, no complaints, no drama, no indignation and no tantrums. Maybe because her face and skin were hidden behind Maz Kanata, The Good Diversity is the invisible diversity. “It’s there, you just don’t see it.”

Thankfully, as of 30th December, the Last Jedi has raked in almost 1 million dollars, making it one of the highest grossing earners of 2017. Diversity may, after all, have saved Star Wars. I am very excited by Benicio Del Toro’s presence in the Last Jedi and hopefully, the rebels or the empire will keep him. All my wet dreams start and end with Benicio’s presence. Oh, sorry, I mean Idris Elba. Anywhere, anytime.

Have you seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi? 

About Elena Karimi: I am an immigrant to Sweden, originally from Kenya. I came to Stockholm to study and stayed after finding work and love. Having siblings and friends in Kenya and East Africa, keeps my eyes almost always turned towards Africa. Being a black woman, belonging to the minority in Europe, keeps my spirit, survival instincts and prayers focused on the dark skinned population of the world.