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Black Panther’s Timely Release Sparks Explosion of Black Pride

Diana Kennedy, Managing Editor

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Besides being a wonderful film, Black Panther has become symbolic of black excellence.

The movie takes place in the fictional African country of Wakanda, which is technologically far more advanced than any developed country within the Marvel universe. This display of a powerful African people breaks the single story narrative that we have often been shown in Hollywood movies. In past years,  movies that have starred a predominantly black cast often followed a storyline of oppression. Though oppression has been a large part of African-American, the successes of black culture have not experienced as much exposure. The inclusion of female powerhouses such as Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett is incredibly refreshing, as the representation of a strong black woman has become so rare in mainstream movies.

The absence of Europeanized style and beauty standards was outstanding. In a recent interview, Lupita Nyong’o discusses the importance of putting emphasis on African hair, in its natural state. When questioned on the absence of straightened and relaxed hair, Nyong’o explained that Wakanda was meant to be portrayed as an African nation that had never experienced colonization, and so European beauty standards are absent. The appreciation for dark-skinned women with kinky hair is widely absent on the silver screen, until now. Perhaps this movie will spark a change in what we perceive as beautiful.

Besides the social significance of Black Panther, the cinematography and screenplay is breathtaking. It shines where other Marvel movies pale in comparison. Despite being a superhero movie, it wasn’t chockfulled of action scenes and cheesy one-liners. The plot was also much more intricate than other Marvel films. Previous Marvel have all followed similar story arcs, to the point that they become predictable. Black Panther has the rare ability of moving its audience with its sharp dialogue and intricate inter-character relationships, at one point I forgot I was watching a superhero movie.

I had listened to the outstanding soundtrack before watching the movie, being able to listen to them in the film completely transformed each song. Artists such as Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and SZA were featured on the Black Panther soundtrack. What was really breathtaking was the scoring by Ludwig Goransson. The score featured a mix of synthesized beats, African drumming, and classical orchestral music. The use of the synthesized beats, which mirrored modern day hip hop beats, paired with the African drums, symbolized the contrast of African-American culture and African culture in the film.

The movie’s director, Ryan Coolage, is quickly becoming a well-known name.  At only 31 he has already directed wildly successful films such as Fruitvale Station and Creed, both of which significantly surpassed their budgets with box office gains. With Black Panther’s tremendous success, it is no doubt that Coolage will be someone to watch out for in the future. I am excited to see outcome of his next project.

 

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Black Panther’s Timely Release Sparks Explosion of Black Pride