Black Panther Goes Hard for the Culture and Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

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By Ayanna Thompson

Black Panther is legit legendary. From blowin’ up the box office to sprinkling Black creative magic on and off the set, this movie is and forever will be, a landmark moment in cinematic history. It’s expanded the context in which Black films are perceived, shattering the glass ceiling (and walls) of what is possible for an all-Black cast led by a Black director and written by a majority-Black team. And we have shown up and shown out, using our buying power to gross this blockbuster more than one billion dollars globally! Black Panther came to slay, and it’s slayage goes hard for the culture. Here’s how:

1) It’s a new kind of revolution. 

Black Panther isn’t a perfect story of Black Power and liberation; instead, director Ryan Coogler chose to give us the opportunity to see ourselves as complete outside the context of whiteness, playing both villain and hero. Typically, our identity as either or is tokenized by the roles of white characters, but with this film, the entire concept was designed by Black people for Black people. This is where the revolution lies— in the daring amount of representation. From the storyline to the music to the costumes to the set design to the actors to the writers and everything in between, Black Panther is oozing major Black creative vibes.

2) It revels in Afro-futuristic female power.

Fierce, strong, incredibly beautiful, and not the slightest bit whitewashed, the women of Wakanda are dark-skinned warriors postin’ up in natural hair and African wear. But their fighting spirit isn’t relegated to the physical; Princess Shuri reps Black girls in S.T.E.M., inventing near-invincible armor and virtual reality vehicles, as well as harnessing the many uses of the beaded bracelets.

3) It celebrates Blackness in all forms.

Not only do the women of BP rep to the fullest, but the dudes do, too. Rich hues of brown skin and coily hair are serving life all throughout the film and we are here. for. it. The actors hail from the U.K., the U.S., the Caribbean, and more, and their experiences as Black people most likely differ a bit because of this. This serves as the perfect canvas for Coogler, who encouraged a variety of dialects in the movie. Even though the characters are all Wakandan, their accents are not exactly the same because they are meant as a nod toward the many different tribes.

4) It might give Disney a new Black princess.

Breakout actress Letitia Wright goes so hard in the film that many of us have already been rooting for her to become an official Disney Princess. Because Disney is Marvel’s parent company, we think that is hella legit.  Unapologetically Black, brilliant, witty, and cool as ever, Princess Shuri brings all the Black Girl Magic to the scene.

5) It shows Africa as a thriving continent.

Having never been colonized, Wakanda is the most advanced nation in the world. Although they have their issues just like any nation, their issues are their own and not burdens caused by any colonizers — their success is not dependent on outside help. Complete with vibranium mines that fuel their advanced tech, Wakanda is the dream of what the Continent could have been, undisturbed.

6) It is filling the next generation with hope and pride. 

So many young people have gone to witness the greatness that is Black Panther. Not only are the visuals extra lit, the representation is on point, too. And in times like these, such positive portrayals of people who look like us is more important than ever.

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