"Black Panther" Is Brilliantly Made And Wildly Significant For The Culture
By: Kayla Pasacreta
Marvel's Black Panther is unlike anything the franchise has ever done before. Ryan Coogler, Marvel's first ever black director, brilliantly captures a black superhero with swagger, intellect, and humanity. The movie is packed with powerful worldly symbolisms, cultural references, comedic relief, and action-packed fighting scenes. P.S.: this article doesn't contain any spoilers.
Black Panther is brilliantly black, futuristic, and game-changing. The movie's release date fell during Black History Month, and enjoyed a lot of well-deserved hype. Set in Wakanda, a fictional nation that very clearly likens Africa, we're introduced to a beautiful black cast that knows how to kick-ass. Black Panther showcases black people stunningly - Wakanda is a supreme nation with technological advances that no other country can match. Wakanda showcases the many vibrantly different aspects of African culture, and is careful to highlight diversity without shedding light on problematic stereotypes. Black Panther challenges the rampant stereotypes of Africa being a third-world continent reaking of poverty and few resources. In fact, Black Panther even shits on the notion that Africa is a one-note continent, and makes sure to show various tribes that clearly symbolize the wide variety of cultures and tribes in Africa.
Can we also take a moment to appreciate the cast of Black Panther? Sorry to be blunt, but the cast is comprised of snacks, chile. We're given the sex appeal of protagonist T'Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) and antagonist Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan). The movie is so damn dope you can't even completely hate the villain.
And, if Black Panther doesn't teach you anything else, you'll surely learn that black women always save the day! Nakia (played by Lup'ita Nyong'o) delivers a flawless performance, and is the only warrior I know who can manage to look radiant AF, save the day alongside her man, and still realizes even though she may love him, she doesn't really need him. Nakia is aided by equally-radiant black queens Okoye (played by Dania Gurira) and Ramonda (played by Angela Basset). Shuri (played by Lettia Wright) is a witty and hilarious (seriously, she calls white men colonizers) tech-god; assuming her position as in charge of Wakanda's astounding technology process. This is a great representation of not only black women in power, but also black women in STEM. Even though T'Challa is innovative and motivated, he wouldn't be able to accomplish sh**t without the black women by his side.
And despite how much certain people want you to believe it's just a superhero movie with nothing to do with blackness, they're wrong! The spunky song Paramedic! (arguably the best song on the album), an ode to Oakland and a song that will have you ready to run everyone up, has some of the blackest lyrics ever,
The litness of the song aside, the Black Panther soundtrack makes us feel like this movie is for us. With cultural sololiques like "What are thooooose?" and rappers desperate to share their Soundcloud link, Black Panther writers flawlessly seam in references that are highly relevant to black culture. To see a movie with a cast made up of people who look like you, doing superhero things, TO THE SOUNDS OF KENDRICK LAMAR, is extremely important and trailblazing for the culture. Black people don't often enjoy the luxury of seeing themselves on the big screen when they're not struggling or helping a white character. Black Panther says f**k that, and delivers a splendidly black movie.
Side note: can we make Shuri and T'Challa's handshake a thing?! Black people, we greeting each other like this all 2018.
I know it's only the first weekend, but if you haven't seen Black Panther yet, WYD?