There are a few momentous occasions in my life that I have felt blessed to witness.
Two of which are:
- Watching President Barack Obama’s victory walk with his family soon after the 2008 elections.
- Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium during his Dangerous world tour
Seeing the record-breaking the success of Black Panther can now be added to my list.
When I watched the first trailer in June last year, I joined the many Black Panther cheerleaders who were excited to see this movie. What became immediately apparent was that the excitement was not just about the release of another Marvel movie; it highlighted the fact that black audiences were excited to see a cast of black actors in leading roles, portraying positive and strong characters.
An actual storyline with no slaves, maids, drug dealers or addicts – you get the usual shallow depictions!
Now in my first Black Panther post (this is my third LOL!), I confessed I enjoyed the previous Marvel and DC movies, but I was never a comic book fan. This means I had no frame of reference as to how accurate the movie was to the comic book. I have, however, had assurances that Co-writer and Director, Ryan Coogler did a pretty good job in his accuracy of bringing the comic book to the screen. What is even more impressive is that he also managed to stay authentic to the richness of African culture and weave it cleverly into the scenes.
The costume design, I believe, is worthy of a Best Costume Oscar nomination as Ruth Carter clearly did her research on traditional dress across the continent.
Ryan Coogler also mentioned that it was important the women of Wakanda had natural hair, and the head of the movie’s Hair Department, Camille Friend, revealed on thecut.com, where she drew inspiration and the processes to create the diverse styles.
I can’t lie, I could sympathise with General Okoye when she said she felt stupid with a wig on. It was definitely a covert message to women confirming they should not have to conform to fit in.
It was satisfying to see T’Challa/Black Panther supported by strong, intelligent women who were proud of their heritage. Even though he is the King of Wakanda, it was clear throughout the movie the women were key figures he could rely on to physically, mentally and emotionally support him.
This is the kind of content I would have loved to research during my days as a Media Studies student.
At the end of the second week after the movie’s release, Black Panther continues to break records as it reaches over $700 million in box office sales. It has not even been released in Asia, so it looks set to surpass $1billion dollars. This should be a clear indicator to big studio Execs, stories highlighting diversity can actually be lucrative.
More importantly, I honestly see the success of this movie as an inspiration for other directors and actors of colour to re-create OUR stories.
Ryan Coogler, the cast, and crew have definitely made history with this movie. I’m already looking forward to the sequel.