“This movie celebrates its blackness”: “Black Panther” is a huge step forward

Story by Easton Cowart Contributing Reporter


 Few movies in the last few years have been as highly anticipated as the most recent installment to the Marvel Universe as Black Panther. The excitement however isn’t centered around the fact that it is a super hero movie, but the fact that this is an important moment for America culturally. 

Black leading characters are scarce in mainstream show business, and the comic book movie industry is no exception. With the addition of Black Panther to the lineup, African American children can finally have a Black hero to look up to. 

“We are seeing the same hype for Black Panther that we did for other white superheroes.” Said Diominique McKissick, a senior, innovative media major, and station manager of 102.5 KSWH. 

“Little black boys have a superhero now.” Black Panther provides a genuine African American hero who is motivated by what is right and this is something we have seldom seen in the movie industry. 

This is film is unique in that from top to bottom this movie is almost entirely African American from writers to cast, and to director. This movie celebrates its blackness. 

The movie was not the average super hero movie, in that it could have been the simple good guy vs. bad guy format, and it still would have more than likely been successful in the box office. 

What sets this movie apart is that rather than making a standard super hero movie Black Panther saddled itself with the responsibility of making itself culturally impactful and it succeeded. “Black Panther doesn’t put anyone down for race or gender, if he goes after you its because you’re just bad.” 

This movie isn’t only important in the world of race, but of gender. The movie portrays female characters not as stereotypical “strong woman” archetypes but fully fleshed out characters that are badass. 

Femininity and authority exist in the same space in this movie. The women in this film are powerful not in spite of but in addition to the strong male characters. No one in the cast bring each other down to put themselves up, rather they all shine together to provide an extremely unique, and nuanced cast. 

Many African Americans showed for opening night around the country, showing up in cosplay to support the movement and the movie. Many theaters reported sold out shows and box office records have been smashed. The movie also has received positive reactions from both regular audiences and critics alike. 

The timing of this movie is perfect as well, as we enter murkier waters with race relations everyday. This film is representative of a movement away from checking off the diversity list, to make sure your film has enough people of color in it, and towards writing good movies centered around people of every color. 

Hopefully this movie will encourage film makers to continue the trend of not just makind sure each race is represented through token characters, because this is not what audiences want. People want real characters that they can look up to, that look like them. 

“We get to see a Black guy be the good guy.” Said Diominique, “We don’t ever see that.”