What does Black Panther mean to a Black high school student?
I thought this movie was a groundbreaking breath of fresh air. Personally, I have not seen a predominantly black film where the characters are not slaves, criminals or stereotyped, or typecast. No one in this movie was weak at any point.
T’challa better known as Black Panther, has protected Wakanda for generations. At the start of the movie, T’challa had taken the throne and his father T’Chaka’s place as the Black Panther after he was killed in the Marvel movie Civil War. The movie features his homecoming and his adjustments to everything that comes with the death of his father.
One unique element to the movie is how it explores the relationship between Africans and African Americans in modern day society. Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan) who grew up poor in Los Angeles, California, was violent and revengeful, he counted the kills in his lifetime on his body. While the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) never killed anyone and tried to bring peace and protection, to any problems that arise.
The movie was filled with many strong Black actors and actresses. Angela Bassett from Waiting to Exhale, Meet the Browns and What’s Love Got to do with it. Lupita Nyong’o from Queen of Katwe and 12 Years a Slave. Danai Gurira from All Eyes On Me, The Visitor and Mother of George. Chadwick Boseman from 42, Marshall and Get on up. Michael B Jordan from Creed and Fruitvale Station, Forest Whitaker from The Butler, Daniel Kaluuya from Get Out, Letitia Wright from Urban Hymn, The Commuter and Episode 6 of series 4 of Black Mirror.
The women were strong, there were a handful of fight scenes and some war scenes that the women took part in. There was a small love story between some characters but it is not amplified too much, to take away from the plot. Lupita Nyong’o’s character and Chadwick Boseman’s characters then between Daniel Kaluuya and Danai Gurira’s characters.
Especially inspiring to me was the character of Shuri, who As a 16 year old, and little sister of a king, the expectation is that you are seen and not heard. This is not the case for Shuri, she is never humble about of her accomplishments. She has no reason to hide what she has done, in a way she was a symbol for how not only girls but black girls should acknowledge how far they have come. Her black girl magic was inspirational.
The film tried to show African women in their best light, as powerful, independent and smart. Shuri (played by Letitia Wright) was an engineer who invented multiple contraptions seen in the movie, such as Black Panther’s kinetic energy suit, and the car black panther uses in one of the stunt scenes. Okoye (who is played by Danai Gurira) was the head of security and in charge of protecting the king, she did not let her feelings get in the way of her job, at any point in the movie.
In the film, the natural chemistry and connection among the actors was evident, for example TÇhalla and Shuri who play siblings, had a heartwarming bond. Many times during the film I forgot the actors were playing parts. They weren’t just brother and sister, they were a team, professional when necessary but teasing each other in their free time. The audience could relate to if they had siblings.
The Black Student Union at SLA went to see the movie on the opening day, and afterwards multiple SLA students went to see the movie again, to soak in all the black excellence and catch details they might have missed. Fans are waiting for the next big marvel movie, Infinity War, and the recently announced sequel of Black Panther to see more.