Black Panther is Nearly Here: How This Film is Revamping Hollywood’s Race Conversation

I’m sure we all remember the first moment Black Panther appeared in Captain America: Civil War. We were wondering if this complicated and intriguing Marvel Universe character would finally get his own movie.

 

It appears that the Marvel Gods did hear us out because it was announced last year that Black Panther would be getting screen time starting Feb. 16, 2018. African-American actor Chadwick Boseman would reprise his titular role in the film, written by two African-American writers, Joe Robert Cole and Ryan Coogler, notorious for having directed Creed and Fruitvale Station. To top this off, the cast is made of primarily black actors : Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, The Jungle Book), Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fruitvale Station), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), and more.

 

It is an incredible and relevant moment in our history to be able to see a cast full of black actors in a movie that places them on the same pedestal as other Marvel Universe characters such as Iron Man and Captain America.  

 

There have been black superhero characters before, particularly Oscar winner Halle Berry’s Storm in X-Men. However, the reason this specific film is important is because the black superhero is featured front and center and comes from a technologically advanced African nation untouched by white colonialism and imperialism. Even better? The film is helmed by a major production studio, Walt Disney Pictures’ Marvel Studios.

 

This is extremely significant given the issues that have come up over last few years. We have seen people on social media speak out on the ways Hollywood has whitewashed too many stories and taken the opportunity away from people of color to narrate their heritage’s characters. Examples include the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the main character in the live-action remake of the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell, the all-white cast in the Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Caucasian actor Ed Skrein rejecting the Hellboy reboot role, Major Ben Daimio since the character is Japanese. We also can’t forget the viral hashtag #OscarSoWhite that appeared in 2015, when the Oscar nominees for that year were predominantly white and male.

 

What Black Panther brings to audiences of color is the opportunity to believe that their stories don’t have to fit in the mold of stereotypes, and that they too can exist in magical worlds that have so long been reserved for Caucasian actors and audiences.

 

In an interview with People magazine, actor Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), who will be starring in Black Panther, explained : “I get to take my kid to go see a black superhero movie and he gets to see an image of himself as the man,” Brown says. “Chadwick Boseman looks like me. He looks like my son.”

 

It is exciting to know that little brown and black kids will be able to grow up and finally look up to a superhero that resembles them.