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Why The New Black Panther Trailer Made Me Emotional

I walked into my 12pm World Cinema class right at 11:59pm, rejoicing that I had once again, avoided being late. As I took my seat, my professor announced that he wanted to start class differently. He dimmed the lights, opened YouTube, and made my entire week. My jaw hit the ground as he played Marvel’s newest trailer for their upcoming Black Panther film. For two whole minutes, as the sound of hip hop beats and beautiful African accents blended perfectly, I was filled with unspeakable pride.

There’s something extremely special about seeing oneself represented onscreen; A part of you just feels whole. I experienced this same feeling this past summer, watching Gal Gadot bring Wonder Woman to life. Leaving that movie theatre that day, I felt extremely empowered. How we see ourselves represented in the media has a big impact on how we perceive ourselves in real life and how other members of society perceive us as well.

As a Nigerian American female, I feel as though I carry the weight of my ancestors on my shoulders, and I am so incredibly grateful for the rich culture and heritage that they left me. However, I have often felt as though the society in which I live is not truly interested in or appreciative of this culture. Historically, there have even been those who have attempted to wash this culture away. Black Panther is a story that showcases strong African characters, who fight their own battles and aren’t just sidekicks, or meant to represent “the other.” The main character is an African king attempting to stop a third world war from happening. The trailer alone showed black characters who were strong and determined. The entire story offers a portrayal of Africa that completely goes against the stereotypical way in which a majority of people typically imagine the continent to be. Although the country in which this film is set is fictional, so far it represents an Africa that is very real. It shows a place that is versatile, nuanced, and abundant.

This film stars several of the most prominent black actors currently in the industry. Chadwick Boseman will reprise his role as the Black Panther, and Michael B. Jordan will also have a main role in the film. Kenyan-Mexican Academy Award winner, Lupita Nyong’o will also star in this film as a member of Wakanda’s special forces.

Although the film is yet to be released, and will most likely be imperfect in some aspect, I want to thank Marvel. We all deserve to see something that makes us proud to be who we are and for me they have done just that. 

Anuoluwapo Naomi Bamidele is a senior at UT. She is pursuing a major in Marketing and a minor in Film and Media Studies. Her favorite movies are Slumdog Millionare, Million Dollar Baby, Rocky, Titanic, Forrest Gump, The Dark Knight, and High School Musical. Two things you should really know about her are that she LOVES Jesus and one day her name, although unique,  will be known across households.  Follow her on twitter @QueenBamidele00 and Instagram @anuoluwapo.naomi.bamidele
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