When Marvel’s Black Panther opened in theaters on February 16th it instantly became a cultural phenomenon. Black Panther didn’t just crush the domestic box office but also did extremely well overseas, which finally puts to rest that movies with black leads can’t do well internationally.
Black Panther isn’t the first black superhero to ever grace the big screen with movies like Marvel’s Blade (1998), however, the thing that makes Black Panther special is that it’s a celebration of black culture and it combats the stereotypes of black people. The movie also shows Africa in a different light, showing the fictional African city of Wakanda to be progressive, rich, and vibrant instead of backward and savage as portrayed in American media.
Since the movie’s release, it has started a lot of talk about the importance of representation in the media. In the film industry, 70 percent of actors in the top grossing films are white with only 10 percent being black and other minorities are below 10 percent. Hollywood has since tried to include more diversity in their movies with films, such as Get Out, Wonder Woman, and Coco, which all have had box office success. If anything Black Panther has shown just how important it is to have young black girls and boys seeing someone like them on screen as beautiful, intelligent, strong, and heroic.
Black Panther is the movie that has turned Hollywood on its head. Hopefully, it makes Hollywood realize not to shy away from making more diverse films and become inspired to write stories and characters that represent a diverse America.