Black Panther – Leadership, Diversity, Kickass Women, And Unity

Black Panther – Leadership, Diversity, Kickass Women, And Unity

Black Panther broke several box office records and laid the milestone for the better depiction of colored people based on the background and ethnicity. Chadwick Boseman steps into the shoes of the king who unites people and exhibits heroism.

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A meteorite containing Vibranium, a metal which enables a warrior to gain superhuman qualities, falls on Earth. The battle was fought centuries ago between five African Tribe to get the meteorite. The one who gets the Vibranium unites the tribes and forms nation of Wakanda. Wakanda remains the most advanced nation but they choose to stay low profile and pretends to be primitive, to hide the superpower in the name of technology, to the entire world. The tribes knew that the moment the world comes to know about Vibranium, those who crave power will try to snatch it from them. Wakanda, however, uses the Vibranium for a good cause, that is to serve humanity and for technological developments, and, never to use the same to destroy life or to hamper peace. They insulate themselves from the world and poses as a Third World country. We are introduced to this world and finally to our hero. Hope Reese from Vox writes, “Wakanda, a fantasy nation that serves as the setting for much of Black Panther, is a vision of an African nation that’s not only unencumbered with a history of colonialism but by a great margin the most technologically advanced country in the world“.

Being a movie buff, I went to watch the film along with my ten-year-old daughter. What I loved the best about this film accolades the afro culture and it is shown exactly how it is and we appreciate women and men for who and how they are. Vishnani from Columbian Missouri wrote, “it showed a different Africa, one that represented the rich cultures and experiences of the people of the continent, Thipe said. It showcased that African countries are developing and thriving, which is often missing from Western movies.  Besides the clothing and the language, he said the inclusion of African beats, rituals, and values were important in painting an authentic view of African culture“.

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T’Challa is a magnificent character. Though we see a layered version of him in Captain America: Civil war, he gets the platform he deserves in this movie. Chadwick Boseman did justice to his role and it meant to serve as a voice for generations, as it took over 50 years since the invention of films for a colored man to have his own platform. There is a lot we could learn from T’Challa. He is sublime and powerful. He tends to be brawny but doesn’t misuse his position. He spares the leader of Jabari tribe who challenges him when T’Challa was to overtake the reigns of his kingdom and in return, he gains a friend who was actually his enemy. So, this film actually portrays how with your golden nature you can turn an enemy to a friend as it was the same Jabari tribe who later saves T’Challa and also supports him to fight against Killmonger the undercover enemy.

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Apart from Chadwick Boseman’s version of a kickass hero, I know that a lot of women of color will appreciate the film as it has portrayed woman as a powerhouse and also a talent in her own way. Women are feisty and compassionate. From the archaic times, all superheroes have been portrayed as Caucasian males but this movie had something else to say. As rightly pointed out by Mahika Banerji in Feminism in India; “Director Ryan Coogler and writer Joe Robert Cole made sure to park all damsel-in-distress stereotypes by the door before they went in to make this film. Black Panther is a promise to look forward to a future where women blast opens the white stereotypes of eye candy and recipients of male savior-itis, who only exist to appeal to the protagonist’s swollen male ego”.

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Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia, T’Challa’s former lover, and fighter. She fights for hegemonized women in Nigeria and is adept in Judo, Jujitsu and other forms of martial arts. She is a woman with her own voice and refuses to settle as a queen of Wakanda and continues her fight for the suppressed voices. Nakia’s voice vibrates across the audience and her stance is as firm as the iron. Okoye (Dania Gurira) serves as the chieftain of the special forces of Wakanda and is T’Challa’s bodyguard. Unlike the stereotypical vulnerability expected from her, Okoye proved otherwise. On her phlegmatic demeanor, Gurira said, “She can be serious, but she also has an unexpected sense of humor. She has a heart, but for her country and for her people”. Shuri (Letita Wright) is portrayed as a powerhouse of technology. She is only sixteen but she has been described as “an innovative spirit and an innovative mind who wants to take Wakanda to a new place” Angela Bassett as queen Ramonda, mother to the T’Challa and Shuri, apart from her role as grieving widow she had been shown as a woman with a cognitive mind. She teaches her son that time has come and he must take over the clan. Her daughter Suri has the same traits like the mother queen Ramonda.

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As a woman and a mother to a daughter, I felt that this movie did a great justice. After watching several back-to-back films with a single main representation where women and colored people were sidelines, it is a refreshing experience to watch Black Panther and to see these kickass women trying to save and bring honor to her country. Neither a conventional fair and lovely skin nor a shy coy look but the women and T’Challa will keep you gripped with their daredevil stunts and a fierce and a vexed attitude. Women and men go shoulder to shoulder, gently reminding the society on how it should be. Diversity matters on a massive platform like the entertainment.

So take your family, grab a popcorn and enjoy this might!

 

 

 

Rimli Bhattacharya is an engineer and MBA based out of Mumbai, India. Her Anthology on Mental illness “Book of Light” was published with speaking tiger publications. She writes for several magazines and is a trained Indian Classical dancer. She tweets @rimli76

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