It seems fitting that the first post on my new site is about Wakanda – the fictional country in the new Black Panther film that envisions a country unspoiled by colonization.
There are quite a few spoilers ahead so if you haven’t seen the film yet (err what are you waiting for) but want to then just come back for next week’s post.
I’m warning you, oh…
OK SO I expected greatness and the film certainly delivered!!
From its captivating fighting scenes (who knew a wig could be used as a weapon…) and portrayal of innovative technological advances to its (subtle) digs at colonization and western beauty standards that so often govern our perceptions of ourselves, it offers a refreshing depiction of an African country. Of course, there are so many points to consider but my initial reaction left me with three main take away points:
- The portrayal of black womanhood
While the storyline centres on T’Challa and his struggles to govern as the new king of Wakanda, the standout characters for me where Nakia, Okoye and Shuri, played by Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright. Strong, powerful and equally empathetic – they represented an alternative image of black womanhood that was not solely focused on anger, pain or dependence. While both Nakia and Okoye had love interests, they remained independent from the strong influence of men; expertly shown when W’Kabi kneels before Okoye on the battlefield.
- The mix of traditions and technology
The film shows Shuri working hard to infuse Wakanda’s natural resource – vibranium – into the countries transport systems, defence mechanisms and amour. In the film, vibranium, which symbolising the natural resources that so many African countries are enriched with (e.g. oil, diamonds, gold, iron etc), was always controlled by the nation. T’Challa, after seeing the effects of isolationism, addresses the UN at the end of the film to announce that Wakanda had decided to share the incredible resource with the rest of the world (rather than, as we all know the story, through empires, exploitation or corruption). All that, against the backdrop of traditional practices proved that Wakanda was not an African nation that emulated the western world but, rather, defied it. From the challenge for the throne by M’Baku to Killmongers (albeit ironic) ‘hi aunty’ the film showed a thriving African nation that incorporated ancestral tradition into its ongoing growth. Again, proving to be a clear defiance of strongly held imperialistic views.
- Michael B. Jordan
That is all.
If you’ve seen the film, what were the key take away points for you?
Now, I’m off to marvel at how incredible Angela Basset still looks and find a clip of Michael B Jordan in that fight scene…