Black Panther Provides a New Outlook – Wakanda Forever! by Maria C. Ramos Ed.D

Much has been written about the great commercial success and positive reviews of the movie Black Panther. Director Ryan Coogler and his team have received many well deserved accolades for the film, a riveting story, brilliant acting, breathtaking cinematography, mind blowing action, perfect music and grand imagery. The movie also produced a tidal wave of social and cultural response that began to surge a year before the premier and it is still going.

The Black Panther movie has been an amazing social phenomenon. Many in the audiences were regally dressed in their Afrocentric clothes. They had a fresh take on dressing for a movie, this was not European wear, this was Wakanda wear! It’s been reported that people of other cultures such as Japan also wore their traditional dress to see the movie. The new outlook energized by the Black Panther movie unplugged a heightened interest in, admiration of and pride in cultural identity. Plus the goodwill that prompted people who gave money to support whole classrooms and after school programs for children viewing the movie is unprecedented.

Social media blew-up with Black Panther related activity, far more than all the other recent blockbuster movies to date. A prime example of the social media trend was all the responses to the #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe, that created a space for people, especially kids to share. They shared how the movie presented superheroes who looked like them! This Halloween for black kids means no more dressing like a white superhero cause you have to, but you can if you want to, because you have choices and a new outlook on what superheroes look like – You!

Amazing is a good word to describes the social phenomena sparked by the movie Black Panther. There have been deep expressions of gratitude for the filmmakers. The audience enthusiasm has been witnessed in the creative attire and the identification with the characters. Rich dialogues have been had about the women characters having ‘agency’, the crippling effects of internalized racism, the power of community and the healing action of goodwill. Makes one wonder how to bring the good from this into our daily lives.

For Your Consideration:

What is my superpower? Each of us has a unique talent. How do I nurture it and share it with the world?

How do I express my cultural roots in my daily presentation?

How can I support meaningful dialogue about issues like race and gender with my family, with my friends and in my community?

In what ways can I promote goodwill wherever I am?