This post was most recently updated on June 21st, 2018
As a long time comic book fan, the Black Panther movie was one that I have waited a long time for and I think Marvel has done a fantastic job being true to the characters and the mythos of Wakanda. So without giving away too much of the plot, here is what I loved about Marvel’s Black Panther.
The women of Black Panther’s Wakanda
These women are fierce!!! They are strong, intelligent, loyal and did I mention FIERCE! From the women on the Tribal Council to the Dora Milaje, the all female elite fighting force, the women of Wakanda are role models for all girls.
Imagine a place where a woman’s role is defined as ‘being all that you can be’ without question or apology.
To me, Wakanda symbolizes Africa as I wish it could be. Too often we hear of Africa as a “third world country”, but not enough about of the beauty and the history of the civilizations of Africa. Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country on the planet.
How beautiful is the Africa of Wakanda? Click on this link to view the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, the inspiration for Warrior Falls. Want to know more about Africa’s history and empires? Check out Africa’s Great Civilizations by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. [Amazon link]
The Wardrobe and Costumes of Black Panther
Personally I want the kente cloth worn by T’Challa. According to my notes there were over 700 costumes created for Black Panther by veteran costume designer Ruth Carter. Each tribe had its own color palette, such as the blue used by the Border tribe and the green of the River tribe. It wasn’t just the colors either. You will love the intricate and subtle patterns in the costumes. I found myself entranced by the way the colors and shapes changed with the movement of the actors.
And the attention to details of traditional African clothing and body art are all through the movie.
For example, the buckle in the front of the armor for each member of the Dora Milaje was transformed into a custom-designed metal panther head. The harness is deemed to be a prized heirloom to be passed from mother to daughter to survive and use over generations.
The theme of the bonds of family run throughout the movie. But family is not just defined as those of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers but the family of the Wakadan people and people of African descent throughout the world.
I can’t close without including the homage Black Panther pays to the struggles of Africa and African Americans. Just so you don’t miss it, listen for how Martin Freeman’s character is called (colonist) and Killmonger’s final words about the Middle Passage.
Black Panther hits theaters on Friday, Feb 16, 2018. Select theaters (AMC Theaters, Cinemark/Century and Regal in the Bay area) will be hosting special Black Panther Opening Night Fan Event showings with souvenir coins, and other goodies at 6 pm showings on Thursday, February 15th.
Let’s Explore More of Black Panther’s World
Get excited about Black Panther, but don’t stop there. Here are links to books, videos and websites about African traditions, history and civilizations. And to some of the traditions and peoples that influenced Ryan Coogler (Director/Screenplay), Ruth Carter (Costume Design), Joel Harlow (Special Effects Makeup Designer) and Camille Friend (Hair Department Head) in the making of Marvel’s Black Panther.
The Amazing Lives of Africa’s Royal Women [Amazon link]
Africa’s Great Civilizations by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. [Amazon link]
Black Panther books – get your kids excited about reading [Amazon link]
The Ndebele, inspiration for the neck rings worn by Danai Gurira as Okoye. [link]
Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa and Wakanda. [link]
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