Grossing $242 million over opening weekend in North America alone, you could say this movie is one for the records.
Black Panther is the first Marvel movie to have an all-black cast. Do you know how amazing, yet slightly disappointing that is?
Marvel has been around for decades, we all grew up with Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, even Black Panther comics. But for this to be the first time the black community has this type of representation in the box office, for a movie of this genre is phenomenal and has been a long time coming.
This article isn't going to dwell on the fact that it has taken too long for Hollywood to realize its potential in creating more diverse roles in which visible minorities play the principal roles in sci-fi or fantasy movies. Rather, we will focus on the beauty of blackness portrayed throughout this thrilling, entertaining, sometimes comedic marvel (see what we did there) of a movie.
You might be wondering what a beauty magazine has to do with a superhero comic. Well for one, Qweens is all about celebrating diversity and the beauty of people of colour, and if you just look at the film's promo alone, you'll see why we had to rush to the cinema to get the first look at this masterpiece.
So here are Qweens' 5 Reasons Why Black Panther is so revolutionary
1. The ladies.
There are so many females in powerful leading roles, from Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) to Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira). We see these powerful women use their intelligence, strength and advice to guide King T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) on his quest. Even the Dora Milaje were all females, showing the strength of female power.
2. The representation.
Representation MATTERS. It's such an important message for kids to be able to see themselves in these kinds of roles. Our kings and qweens of the future need some role models to look up to, even if they are just comic book heroes. The men respected the women, and though they were all powerful, they complimented the strength of the women in. Sending the message that men and women can work together to achieve great things. T'Challa's main advisers were all women, and he had no problem turning to them in his time of need. This is a representation of the relationship between black women and their men that is more prevalent in today's society.
3. The ladies... again
Seeing so many brown-skin and dark-skin women on the screen in powerful roles is so special. Not only were they there for "decoration", or just for their beauty and looks. Though of course the cast was made up of beautiful people, their characters were far more complex and compelling than just being the sidekick, as dark-skinned women have often been in films. Oscar-award winning costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, told Times she didn't want to make the women look super sexy like we see in the comics. "They can look like warriors and still look great. They can have no hair, they can show no skin and be sexy," she said.
4. The hair.
Not one permed hair in sight. Carter told Refienery29 that the vision behind the costumes and hair was to create positive visuals for the African diaspora, that would get rid of stereotypes. Shuri (Wright) wore micro braids, while Nakia (Nyong'o) wore her hair in a TWA. Ramonda had dreadlocks, which were often gathered in the traditional Zulu headdresses. And Okoye (Gurira) and the rest of the Dora Milaje had shaved heads; though Okoye was seen wearing a wig in the casino, she soon rips it off so she could fight like the true warrior she is.
5. Representation... again.
Though this was the second point, it's worth re-iterating. Representation matters so much. Not only through the actors, but also in the costume and makeup department. Carter says she drew a lot of her inspiration for costumes from traditional African clothing, but also from some Asian influences. Seeing that on the big screen adds another sense of pride for African heritage. Shuri's makeup is an example of embracing the African culture and heritage. Her tribal makeup is seen on many different tribes all over the continent, and though it is often used to symbolise Africa-before colonialism (read: savage Africa). The tribal marks both makeup, and the marks on W'Kobi's (Daniel Kaluuya) face and Erik Killmonger's (Michael B. Jordan) body, have deeper meanings. Sometimes symbolizing marital status or class.
This film represented some aspects of Africa in the best light, showing how rich the culture is, and did so by not playing into stereotypes.
And if you're still considering watching the movie, here's the trailer.