Whether you’re a comic fan or not, you’re bound to have seen posters or social media posts about Marvel’s newest blockbuster, Black Panther. Black Panther was first created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and was transformed into a film this year. The story follows T’Challa, a man living in a fictional African nation named Wakanda. Black Panther is the first non-white superhero to have his own film, making this a milestone movie.
But what makes this film different from all the other Marvel films? Take a look at the cast list and you’ll find that the majority are black actors and actresses. Sure, black people have been in movies but look at the roles they play and you’ll find that they are often cast as the criminals, slaves or poverty-stricken individuals. Not this one! This film empowers as it shows Africa in its full beauty, strength and power. Africa’s stunning landscapes and vast cultural diversity are shown off throughout. This acts as a catalyst to start a conversation about culture and encourages the audience to educate themselves and explore what life is like outside their own bubble of familiarity.
The film also takes a step forward in representation, as black children (and adults!) can now look up and see themselves and their stories represented in media where they couldn’t before. Media and reality influence one another in a never-ending cycle, as reality shapes what is portrayed in the media and, in turn, the media influence the audience, who are real individuals. But for too long, a large portion of our population has been under-represented in media, that group of people being those who are not white. So it’s refreshing and about time to have a film which celebrates Africa! Michelle Obama herself phrased it beautifully when she tweeted, 'I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories.'
So why is Black Panther so important? Black Panther is important because representation matters.
Will you be going to see Black Panther in the cinema?