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Why Representation Matters

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brenau chapter.

Marvel’s Black Panther film, based on the 1960’s comics Black Panther, is the first predominantly black casted superhero film and one of the first black superheroes. The film tells the story of the prince of Wakanda, a fictional third world, African country, becoming king and the Black Panther due to his father’s death.The black community is celebrating in being represented in this large growing industry, but the most talk is about how it was going to help black children.


-Ron Clark Video



Students of Ron Clark Academy react to being able to go on a field trip to see Black Panther


In Kevin Noble Maillard’s “I Took 7th Graders to See ‘Black Panther.’ Here’s What They Said.” he speaks about “the argument that the story of an African American superhero would benefit black children’s self-esteem” and how the children really feel wasn’t taken into account.  While the 7th graders were at the film they were told to write reactions and were later interviewed. After seeing the film, Gabriela Miles responded, “The film makes me want to start my own tribe and make my own inventions to help the world. It makes me want to make my own Black Panther outfit,” while Paris Bellinger said, “[It makes me want to] protect my family, believe in myself, never give up on anything, and try to achieve my goals even if it leads to me dying.”  Ethan Tutor, “This film is important for black people because we must represent ourselves and not be scared to show who we are. Also to make ourselves known to the world,” From responses like those to many others it was clear that all the children left inspired wanting to know about African culture, more proud of their black skin and like Gabriela Miles said that anyone, even black little girls can be superheroes.


Look Like Me’s passion project with children dressing as various characters from the movie.


From the Black Panther himself, T’Challa, to his sister in charge of IT, Shuri, to the female Warrior, Okoye and fighter M’Baku, there is someone that anyone can find inspiring in this film. And while it does affect black children, by the response the film has gotten it has affected the black community as a whole.


In a survey, men and women over the age of 18 responded to how black panther would have made a difference to them.


If you are older than 18, how do you think Black Panther would have affected you when you were younger?

” I feel as if I would’ve had more superhero Idols to look to if I would’ve saw the movie when I was younger. I also feel like I would’ve saw the world to be a different place if I saw that black people were living in great conditions and was doing great things for themselves.” – Anonymous


Responses such as “ If I was younger seeing this movie as a young black girl, it would have helped me out with my self esteem. I would have appreciated my natural hair more and my cultural even more. Seeing black women who were in power and outspoken in a positive way they were superheroes to me even though they were not the main characters” show that while


Sholonda Blount Dressed up to go see Black Panther in Covington,GA.


The #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe on Twitter and Instagram is filled with people of all races and ages celebrating the film. The theater was filled with people in traditional African wear and other costumes. When asked what Black Panther means to them some thought it was just a movie, but others believed there was a deeper meaning.


What Black Panther Means To Me


“It means that we can make powerful, well made movies that aren’t based around racism, hardships or slavery and it be completely successful.” – Anonymous


“Black Panther means so much to me, it showed me as an African American woman we are powerful and we have a voice. As an African American in the United States we can turn things around and uplift each other and still work together unite as one and teach our children and listen to our elders of what they have to say because we can learn so much from them.”  – Anonymous


“It means excellence to me … It’s a breakthrough for the African-American race as a whole . It is something that needed to happen, although it is only JUST a “movie” it will make a big difference to our African-American kids from here on out . They should/will want to embrace their culture and have confidence after viewing that movie .” -Anonymous


-Video of Man hugging the poster https://twitter.com/LeeColston2/status/942986177191317505


Mother of six, Richaun Bunton, said “Taking my son to the see the movie was exciting for both of us. For me, it honored the role of women in society and the importance of tradition which are both things I instill in my household. We grew up underrepresented in superhero comics but now the next generation can grow up with not only the Black Panther, but with black superheroes as well because this is only the beginning.” Her son, Jesean Williams,18,explained that the movie was just a movie to him, but after thinking about it he thought of how it affected his younger sisters,” It enhanced roles in women in everyday life. My time to be excited has passed because I’m older but it showed my sisters that they can do more than just what women are traditionally ‘supposed’ to do.”




Surpassing box office records, Black Panther has taken the world by storm. Walking out of the theater I had a new found love for superhero movies. As the second after credits clip, that Marvel is famous for, ended, I screamed “Wakanda Forever” and many followed behind me doing the motions.

Junior, Mass Communication major with a concentration in Entertainment Management. Campus Corespondent and Campus Trendsetter for HC Brenau.
My name is Kenya Hunter! I am a freshman at Brenau University as a Mass Communications major. My focus is journalism!