Why We're Praising Black Panther

Marvel’s latest superhero film, Black Panther, was released this past Thursday...as if you didn’t already know. The hype surrounding the film even before its release was unreal. Once viewers actually got a chance to see it over President’s Day weekend, social media went wild, and with good reason.


Cast, Marvel Image


A film such as Black Panther represents a major milestone and achievement in the black community. Never before has there been a black film release to this caliber, from the budget, to the marketing coverage around it. Not only that, it’s been amazing seeing a nearly all-black cast, represented in an extremely positive light. No gangsters, no drop-outs, no drugs, no jail, no slavery, no mammy or overly-promiscuous female archetypes. Instead, we see respected kings, queens, princesses, warriors, spies and engineers, all in the beautiful setting of their very own homeland - Africa (in the country of Wakanda to be specific). Each of the characters are portrayed to be highly intelligent, revered, and valuable, both women and men alike. Even the antagonist, Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) is respectable in his own right. We see a genuine sense of community.



Lupita Nyong'o + Letitia Wright, Marvel Image


The plot of this film is also something to be proud of. The writers gave it a level of complexity beyond what we generally tend to see in black films. Without spoiling it, we’ll just say that important issues that currently resonate in the black community, were accurately addressed.


Another notable aspect is the very fact that this film was produced by Marvel, a white-owned company. Some have expressed dissatisfaction with this, but it actually represents something very positive in our eyes. As we’ve stressed many times, representation matters. Usually in media spaces, black communities have create their own spaces and platforms to become represented, which is amazing, and very important. However, it’s also valuable to have a traditionally white company extend an opening for black representation within their platform. It shows growth and partnership. Yes, plenty of the profit will go to these higher ups, but a great deal of it (along with the accolades) will also go to the cast of black actors and the director, which will provide even more opportunity in the future.


Young and talented director/co-writer, Ryan Coogler, was given an incredible budget, one of the highest ever provided to a black director. That’s monumental! The film made $242 million domestically and $427 million worldwide in its opening weekend and has been named one of the best Marvel films released as of yet, by audiences of varying backgrounds.



Ryan Coogler, Blox Images


All of this to say, whether you’re into superhero movies or not, you should definitely go see Black Panther in theaters. It’s truly a remarkable film for a number reasons. It’s making history all in the month of Black History, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

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