Black Panther's influence on African Culture
Since it was announced back in Oct. of 2014, many anticipated the arrival of Black Panther to the big screen.
With a star-studded cast featuring Chadwick Boseman (42 & Get On Up), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station & Creed), Lupita Nyongo'o (12 Years a Slave), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) & Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and a talented director in Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station & Creed), there were high expectations going into the film.
Not only has the film met its high expectations, it has certainly exceeded them. The film is one of the highest rated films on Rotten Tomatoes with a rating of 97%. It has only been out for not even three full weeks and has neared the $1 billion mark (currently at $921 million).
To put that into perspective, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been out for nearly 12 weeks and has grossed $1.331 billion. Essentially, Black Panther is closing in on surpassing the popular science-fiction franchise and Black Panther hasn't even been out for a month yet.
And while Black Panther has been a film moviegoers have been anticipating even more since the character's appearance in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War, I have been waiting for this film for much longer.
Black Panther has been one of my favorite heroes since I was a kid. It was important to see a superhero with curly hair and dark skin like my own fighting crime and being a positive influence in the world. This film, much like the Black Panther comics created by Stan Lee, is so much more than just being about a black superhero. There are a few others who we've seen in film and comics such as Blade, Luke Cage and Storm to name a few.
The difference is how this film not only highlights the strength and integrity of the title character but, it highlights the African roots that made this hero who he is. BP depicts Afrofuturism at its finest. This film highlights strong characters played by a diverse set of actors from the African continent as well as African Americans and other people of African descent from around the world. From the African beats setting the pace from scene to scene to the beautiful depictions of an uncolonized African country this film does it all and then some.
Lupita Nyongo'o, who portrays Nakia in Black Panther, spoke on ABC talk show The View and discussed what the film is able to show about African culture.
‘Wakanda is special because it was never colonised," said Nyongo'o. "So what we can see there for all of us is a re-imagining what would have been possible had Africa been allowed to realize itself for itself. And that’s a beautiful place.’
Perhaps the greatest aspect of the film in my opinion is the clear message to Hollywood that the world has long awaited and is ready for a cast full of black and brown people to lead and star in major motion pictures that are about more than slavery and servitude.