Black Panther Encourages Representation

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With dazzling cinematography, exhilarating action and a talented all black cast, the superhero film Black Panther left viewers awestruck. The movie was released on February 16 of this year and is a part of the film series based on Marvel Comics’ superhero characters.

The protagonist and Black Panther T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, must take over as king of the African nation Wakanda after his father dies; however, the job is not easy. To most of the world, Wakanda is a third-world farming country, but beyond the concealing borders, it is a center for technology more advanced that any other nation.

Therefore, one of the main conflicts is whether or not to reveal Wakanda’s true identity to the rest of the world. The stories of the vicious arms dealer (Andy Serkis) and the abandoned child seeking revenge (Michael B. Jordan) only make the plot more thrilling.

As captivating as the plot is, the characters steal the show. While T’Challa is the hero, his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is a star of her own. Shuri is the genius behind Wakanda’s technology, and though she takes her work seriously, her witty personality makes for lots of laughs. Nakia and Okoye, played by Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira respectively, are also empowering female characters. The two are a spy and a general who support and protect T’Challa on his missions and can kick butt as well as or better than the next male character.

Black Panther is phenomenal for many reasons. Not only is it a great superhero movie, but it brings black culture to the big screen, a place where people of color are often underrepresented.

Except for two characters, a villain and the somewhat delicate CIA agent, the main cast is entirely black. However, the film more than just represents black and African culture. It puts it on beautiful display. From the vibrant colors of the Wakandan tribes to the characters’ natural hair, Black Panther showcases unapologetic black pride.

Representation is important because the characters we watch can influence how we look at ourselves, especially if they look like us. Having a film with strong black superheroes, kings, geniuses and female characters allows for black youth especially to see themselves represented in a positive light and become empowered.

Overall, there are not enough praises to be said of Black Panther, and its only fault may be that it did not come sooner! I highly recommend seeing Black Panther before it leaves the theater, and even if superhero movies are not typically your thing, it is still well worth the watch.