• Loren Javier

The Power of Black Panther


Photo: Marvel Studios

I saw Black Panther last night and I absolutely loved it. Honestly, while it did have Marvel elements to it, it was like nothing I'd ever seen in a Marvel film. I won't spoil the film, but I just thought how beautiful it was to see the almost all black cast directed by a respected black director in this absolutely gorgeous big budget superhero film. And even better, while the film is about Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman, the women steal the show - Danai Gurira as Okoye, the general of the king's all woman royal guard the Dora Milaje; Lupita Nyong'o as spy and love interest Nakia; Letitia Wright as T'Challa's genius chief technologist and sister Shuri; and Angela Bassett as T'Challa's mother Ramonda.


But, to call it just a superhero film does it injustice because the film is about "Afrofuturism," a term that intersects both science fiction and ancient cultural tradition. It's an idealistic view of what Africa could be had not colonialism and the slave trade happened.


The mythology they built around Wakanda is amazing. Wakanda, for those who don't know, is the fictional nation of which T'Challa, the Black Panther, is king. The history, the traditions, the internal politics. It all feels like the Wakanda from the comics. 


You could tell there was a lot of love that went into this movie and the public can feel it. You can't help feel by being touched that young black children from around the world can truly see themselves in a really idealized way in this film...in a Marvel Studios film that has dominated the superhero genre for the last decade. 


Earlier this month, a video went viral of a group of primarily African American children from the Ron Clark Academy,  which espouses the values of Wakanda by teaching kids to be the next leaders, found out that they all were going to get to see Black Panther.



London based African art photographer Asiko created these amazing Black Panther posters as recreated with kids. When I am in the Disney Parks,  I often see children dressed as Captain America, Spider-Man or Iron Man. And I think how precious it is that kids now have Black Panther to aspire to be.



And Academy Award nominated actress Octavia Spencer pledged to buy out a movie theater in Mississippi so that people from undeserved communities could enjoy Black Panther.



So, again, to call Black Panther just a superhero movie does it injustice. This is a spark that hopefully will ignite future films of this kind and give inspiration to those who rarely see themselves in movies like that. And that is the power of the Black Panther! 

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