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Black Panther is a Marvel Studio film; the scene is laid in the fictional African state of Wakanda, a technological utopia hidden from the rest of the world. The movie shows Africa, which was not touched by the colonialists. Black Panther is wildly based on the emphasis of African culture and beautifully expressed throughout the whole film; it focuses on costumes, make-up, and language. Moreover, the film and distribution of a motion picture allow the audience to consider such important issues as diversity and range, the importance of social media, and its impact on society, and women’s power. Overall, the film Black Panther celebrates the African Culture and the Black community.
Impact on the Society
The film presents deep insights and critical social issues; Black Panther reveals many important social problems, including racial discrimination, and questions about what is more important: duty or to protect what you love. There is the opposition between the old and the new world (Mcintyre). Authentic culture collides with technology and modern realities, somewhere complementing each other and, at the same time, causing misunderstandings and problems.
In almost all colors and patterns in the film, the audience can see the reflection of the cultures of various African tribes (Chutel). It encourages the younger generation to know about cultures and how to respect and embrace them. This is a new way to show that Africa has a voice and a highly recognizable culture (Long). Thus, it gives opportunities, confidence, and courage to the other African people living under the shadows to be proud of their culture, countries, and themselves.
For the film, its creators created the gesture Wakanda salute, shown as arms crossed on the chest. It is used according to the plot as a greeting in the protagonist’s homeland (Gander). However, after the release of Black Panther, the fictional greeting gained such widespread popularity that it even became a new symbol of solidarity and the movement supporting black rights (Gander). Furthermore, the film Black Panther has affected fashion; elements of African culture have inspired designers to create clothes. This resulted in a show as part of New York Fashion Week, where designers of the brands Cushnie et Ochs, Ikiré Jones, Tome, Sophie Theallet, Fear of God, Chromat, and Laquan Smith presented a themed collection inspired by images from the film (Maloney). Therefore, the movie inspired fashion, music, and popular culture, which became an overnight sensation.
The movie shows strong feminist characters; T’Challa has his own army called Dora Milaje, composed entirely of women. From century to century, they guard all members of the family of the king of Wakanda. Moreover, Wakanda is also a country of victorious feminism, in which women play no less important roles than men. T’Challa’s sister Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) is engaged in the technological development of Wakanda (Lee). The power of the female character is also presented by Black Panther’s beloved Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, and the leader of the royal female protection squad Okoye (Danai Gurira) (Lee). The female characters, albeit not the main ones, clearly demonstrate a powerful and positive image.
The women are shown as strong and loyal; they stick together and fight together. It is worth highlighting the inventive and cheerful sister of TʼChalla Shuri, who slightly dilutes the general seriousness and pretentiousness with her jokes. Shuri carries a critical semantic load; she supports Black Panther, placing on her fragile shoulders the burden men usually carry. Moreover, Okoye embodies concepts such as honor, duty, and loyalty. According to Lee, the film eliminates sexist prejudices; women’s personalities and skills attract attention first instead of their sex appeal. For instance, their qualities are shown through effective battle strategies and saving the life of T’Challa (Lee).
The film emphasizes that women play a crucial role in protecting the nation, not needing to be rescued by males. The movie focuses on the idea that women can be powerful without men or regardless of their skin color. Strength comes from within and not the outer appearance.
The relationship between Nakia and T’Challa also focuses on the character’s missions. Nakia fights for oppressed people, planning to resume her activity after the T’Challa ceremony; there is the mutual respect in their relationship. They are role models to many women throughout the world, teaching women to be strong and confident. It also inspires young black women to achieve their ambitions and goals. Thus, the movie demonstrates that women can follow their passion and determine their life themselves.
The movie Black Panther has become one of the most successful films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the film’s box office worldwide has exceeded billion dollars. The influence of the film extends both to the film industry and beyond. In the case of Black Panther, this story can encourage people to study the history of the African continent. For a long time, Africa has existed in Western culture as a myth, a tale of a wild and untamed continent. People do not imagine a technologically advanced Africa as the Western world for centuries considered this continent backward and primitive, a place where there is nothing but resources for mining.
The idea of African heritage and its return and reinterpretation is vital to African Americans. The ideas embodied in the film appeal to the inhabitants of Africa and the Americans of African descent, who feel their connection with the continent, but were cut off from their traditions several hundred years ago. Thus, the film Black Panther glorifies the African Culture and the Black community. By changing the future of Africa, it is transforming the attitude toward its past.
Chutel, Lynsey. “Marvel’s Black Panther will speak this real African language.” Quartz Media. 2018. Web.
Gander, Kashmira. “Is the Black Panther ‘Wakanda Salute’ Becoming a Symbol of Black Pride?” Newsweek. 2018. Web.
Lee, Shanon. “The women of ‘Black Panther’ are empowered not just in politics and war, but also in love.” The Washington Post. 2018. Web.
Long, Kelle. “The Amazing & Unconventional Creations of the Black Panther Make-up Designer.” The Credits. 2018. Web.
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Maloney, Nora. “Backstage at the Black Panther New York Fashion Week Presentation.” Vanity Fair. 2018. Web.
Mcintyre, Gina. “The bold costumes of ‘Black Panther’ join tradition and technology.” Los Angeles Time. 2018. Web.