Black Panther: beyond the world of film

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Bryn Valdez, Reporter

By now, following the release of Black Panther, much of the social media hype has expanded from isolated parts of Twitter to all of America. But still, some struggle to see the significance of the movie outside of it’s golden Marvel frame.

“The way that Africa is shown as a rich continent with positive things going on in the movie, is opening people’s eyes,” said So. Epiphany Liggins.

   This is so important to many African Americans because it is not commonplace to find have such an abundance of representation in the media, let alone positive representation that changed the stereotypical narrative.

   “The movie was on point, and it wasn’t stereotyped. Everyone had their own story, and not everyone was the same,” said Physical Education Teacher Alan Batiste.

   It is easy to stick to what we know, living in a small community such as Durango, but it is movies like Black Panther that work to reach even the most isolated of societies. A country such as ours can only start becoming more progressive when the media accurately and consistently reflects the authentic population that has inhabited it for centuries.  “Every culture has to have a point where they experience other people’s beliefs, and I think it was great that this movie did that while also letting people enjoy an action-packed Marvel movie,” said Batiste.

   A lot of the excitement surrounding the film’s release also centered around the tribal theme, which led many of its African-American viewers to feel more connected to their roots. Even non-black viewers found the rich culture to add to the plot.

   “It showed insight into how we’re all connected and we all came from Africa, which is important because that’s all of our history,” said Liggins.

   However, not everyone was open-minded to the idea of the movie, with many white internet users reporting false claims of being attacked by black viewers when they attempted to attend a showing.

   “I think it’s another way people try to bring down a positive thing. Especially black people were very excited for this movie, and these people just felt the need to drag that down in some way by making up these stories,” said Liggins.

   With that said, not only was Black Panther a prominent force of black empowerment, but it was wildly successful for its production. Many reviews peg the movie as vibrant and exhilarating.

   “It was one of the best Marvel movies I’ve seen because it had both the action and comedy, combined with the cultural aspect,” said Fr. Taylor Shermer.

In less than a month, the movie has drawn in over 1 billion dollars worldwide and counting. In its opening weekend alone, the movie generated $200 million dollars, making it the 5th top grossing movie in its opening weekend.

“The movie’s success just opened doors for other cultures and actors to accomplish something big. Especially in a community like ours, where we can sometimes get caught in a bubble, it opens up conversations to see that there are other people in the world,” said Batiste.

Even more so, many of the successful black actors featured in the film were female as well. Primary characters were portrayed by actresses such as Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright.

“It was incredibly empowering to see the all-black cast as well as so many strong female leads,” said Shermer.

Hopefully,  Black Panther’s triumph will influence the future of Hollywood to be more inclined to hire black actors and give them the recognition they deserve.

“We’ll only go up from here and keep uplifting African-Americans and portraying the things shown in that movie as positive,” said Liggins.