Latest release of Marvel Studios’ newest superhero outing, “Black Panther”, has triggered enthusiasm and pride in the heart of many people all over the world. The acceptance of the movie is epic. With movies like this, Hollywood has found a gap to fill and a need to feed from. To many, this movie has brought a sense of validation of their blackness, a psychological matter I find disquieting. The movie is expected to smash box office records, as hightest grossing film in its first month of release; already it as gone farther than Beauty and the Beast.
With an almost entirely black cast and a young African-American director, Ryan Coogler, the film has already won rave reviews for its stereotype-busting portrayal of Africa, which is good in most ways.
But for a long time now, you’d notice the recent romance of American culture with the African continent in terms of everything entertainment; if O’marion isn’t shooting a musical video in south Africa, you will find Kendrick Lamar shooting a video with the symbolic Igbo cap; if all these are not enough to make you see the romance, Hollywood has taken interest in African actors and story.
It shows that the black consciousness has been awoken and the world is counting on Africa to stir and live up to expectations.
The titillating part of the movie is that, it indirectly tells of the problem in Africa (reality) and offers some solutions, using a Utopian state. Set in the fictional African country of Wakanda, the film’s focus on black protagonists, stories and culture sets it clearly apart from other superhero movies. But hero T’Challa, the king of Wakanda played by Chadwick Boseman, is not the first black superhero to hit the big screen. Barasa, who co-founded the Nairobi Comic Convention in 2014, points out that was “Blade” — a vampire with human traits portrayed by actor Wesley Snipes in the trilogy between 1998 and 2004. “But Blade was American,” said Barasa. “In a conversation I had recently, somebody pointed out, ‘Blade had to walk in order for Black Panther to run’,” he noted. – Cultural impact – So far “Black Panther” has generated an enthusiastic response from communities in Kenya and Nigeria that are often stereotypically represented on screen.
Technology enthusiast also appear to appreciate the film’s story qualities, the use of technologies in the movie. The custome used in the film praised too. “Usually in Hollywood, you’re just African. They will use a Nigerian actor with a Nigerian accent to play a Kenyan character or vice versa,” said Sope Aluko, one of Nigerians in the film, at the Lagos premiere in Nigeria. “We knew that we had a responsibility towards Africa and the black community in general while shooting this movie,” she added. “But I didn’t expect anything like this, all this enthusiasm coming from the black community.” Commercially, the film looks set to break some box office records.
Renowned data technologist had this to say about the film;
Black Panther envisions a world in which black folks have the wealth, technology & military might to level the playing field. #BlackPanther
— Emeka Azuka Okoye (@EmekaOkoye) February 16, 2018
#BlackPanther is the first megabudget film with an African American director and a cast representing much of the diaspora. Hollywood has never produced a blockbuster this splendidly black. More, please. My @TIME cover story, now on newsstands. https://t.co/CldGBeVaM7
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) February 16, 2018
In the film, Wakanda has skilfully exploited its mineral wealth to become the most developed and technologically advanced country in the world — a complete reverse of the run-of-mill portrayal of African nations as backward, poverty-stricken and disease-ridden. Yet, at the same time, Wakanda is also anchored in African values of community and spirit. “I like the Afro-future description of the continent and the mix of modern and tradition. They show regular Africans working with technology,” said Chiko Esire, 32, in Lagos. Others took pride in the purely commercial aspect of “Black Panther”, which has already beaten “The Hunger Games” and “Beauty and the Beast” in pre-sales in the United States. Kenya film-maker Jinna Mutune, 29, believes the film has achieved its aim of showing African culture in a positive light but that more black-focused movies need to be produced. “(It) is definitely filling a huge gap,” she said, but added: “We need more and more and more ‘Black Panthers’.”
Many celebrities, especially black American see the Black Panther as a good omen, as they post their thoughts and support for the film through their social media platforms. Top of the list is P.Diddy, the Black excellence crooner and ambassador, Tyrese among many others lend their thoughts, encouraging people to go see the film.
— REVOLT TV (@RevoltTV) February 16, 2018
Ann Hornaday of Washington Post said the following about the movie, among many critics;
A jolt of a movie, Black Panther creates wonder with great flair and feeling partly through something Hollywood rarely dreams of anymore: myth.