Join us for our roundtable about Marvel’s Black Panther where we basically rant about all the things we loved when it comes to this stunning movie. Rants include how this movie is a representation powerhouse, how the women of Black Panther are the kind of female characters we want to see on our screens more often, and how Killmonger is one of the best villains in the Marvel universe.
Enjoy and let us know in the comments below what was your favorite moment from Black Panther or what moment stuck with you long after you left the theater!
Special thanks to the women of We So Nerdy for joining us for this roundtable.
Use a gif to describe how you felt after watching Black Panther.
Why is Black Panther so important? To you? To children who are first seeing themselves on screen? To a community underrepresented in media?
Lyra: Black Panther is important because every single kid deserves to know that they can reach unimaginable heights and succeed. It’s important because these young kids are going to grow up different from how we did. They’ll have that superhero in the back of their minds that defeated the bad guy, saved the day, and came out stronger for it. It’s a symbol of changing times and a Hollywood that understands that those who consume their media aren’t looking for another white superhero. We’re looking for diversity and we’re ready to put our money down for it. So give us more movies like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and A Wrinkle in Time. We now understand what it looks and feels like to see different people represented on TV and in movies and WE WANT MORE!
Lizzie: It’s so important because, first of all, it sent a message that diversity does sell, that people are tired of the same white protagonists telling the same story, but also because it flies in the face of stereotypes that the community has had to put up for so long, and as silly as it sometimes seems to say that we need positive portrayals in media to change people’s minds, it helps, it really does and above all of that, it just feels so freaking good to see someone that looks like you on screen, and we should all have that.
Naomi: Wow. Where to begin. I was simultaneously elated and saddened by my Black Panther experience. Elated because it was so moving to see regal, funny, smart, and beautiful Africans depicted on the big screen, but saddened because it was a painful reminder of just how disconnected from my African heritage I truly am. It lit a fire under me to find out where my African ancestors came from. As a black American, there has always been a part of me that felt very incomplete because I know that the story of my family does not originate in the United States, but I have no idea where on the vast continent of Africa my family may have come from.
The movie is a hands down blockbuster- it has everything that makes a movie great, but I really believe it has done so much more to advance the curiosity and pride of generations to search for and/or celebrate themselves.
Funmbi: REPRESENTATION MATTERS. I was born in Nigeria, but have spent the majority of my life living in the U.S. As such, I’ve always felt an odd positionality. My connection back to the continent is explicit; however, I’m very much part of the Black diaspora. I’m African-American, but not necessarily in the same ways as those descended from Africans kidnapped from the continent and forcibly trafficked to the U.S. I’ve always wrestled with these parts of my identity and various tensions with family and friends. And then BLACK PANTHER! In this film, Coogler and his team have woven together a story that’s unapologetically Black in all it’s fabulous variations.
To be Black is to be beautiful, brilliant, strong, compassionate, and resilient.
This film is a celebration of all these things. At the same time, many of the debates and anxieties within the Pan-African community are reflected on-screen, as we see T’Challa, Killmonger, and others wrestle with what it means to be Wakandan and the extent to which they “owe” assistance to Blacks/Africans across the globe. I’m so grateful for BLACK PANTHER for these heartfelt portrayals that truly resonate with my experiences. I’m grateful for BLACK PANTHER for it’s message of hope, that whether on the continent or in the diaspora, we are connected and, together, we can change the world for the better. I’m grateful for BLACK PANTHER because young people are treated to this message of the truth of their beauty and potential. I’m grateful for BLACK PANTHER for demonstrating that the Black/African story is the human story. REPRESENTATION MATTERS.
Danielle: Black Panther is so important, not just as a movie but as a movement, to me because growing up I didn’t care about superheroes — Marvel, DC or otherwise. But seeing this movie made me realize how much I missed out on as a young black woman. This made me want to get into Black Panther’s backstory even more. This movie was just scratching the surface when it comes to black talent! To the young babies who are seeing this for the first time, I hope that they feel seen, heard and acknowledged to the fullest from this movement.
T’Challa had the weight of his kingdom, powers, and the outside world, on his shoulders. Why and how did he ultimately succeed?
Lyra: T’Challa ultimately succeeded because he knew he had a powerful team supporting him every step of the way. He wasn’t alone in this and the fact that he knew that made everything easier to handle. And it was quite refreshing seeing a superhero that wasn’t trying to take everything on by himself. If he can ask for help then why can’t I? We don’t do this alone. Never. And if there’s anything that you take away from Black Panther it’s that lesson right there.
Lizzie: Because he listened, I think. Because he didn’t think his truth was the only truth in the universe. Because he wanted what was best for his people, even if the best wasn’t him. He cared enough to put his ego aside and try to be fair. And ultimately, because of that, because he cared, he really did, not just about individuals, but about Wakanda. That’s why he was fighting so hard.
Naomi: I have to echo what Funmbi said: Black Panther showed us that Black/African stories are human stories. What I loved about T’Challa’s journey was just how easily it fit into the “coming of age” theme that makes some of the most memorable films. There was T’Challa, faced with becoming a king only a short time after losing a father he loved and respected so much.I was so moved in the scene when he visited the dream-like ancestral plane and told T’Chaka that he was not ready to be without him. (Still dabbing my eyes) But a short time later he had to confront the hard truth that his father was not the perfect man or king he believed him to be, and he also had to face the consequences of the choices made by the kings before him. T’Challa seemed to be willing to follow in their footsteps until he realized, through Nakia’s counsel, that he didn’t have to be his father- that he needed to decide who he wanted to be and how he wanted to rule.
I also love, love, love how Black Panther parallels Thor: Rangnarok in many ways when looking at T’Challa’s relationship with his father. Just like T’Challa, Thor faced becoming a king in the wake of his father’s death and found out that his father was not always the peace loving Asgardian- that he ruled through conquering and bloodshed with his sister Hela. Both of these heroes truly became kings when they realized the true power they wielded was not through a hammer or a heart shaped herb, but the power to walk in their own strength. Can we get a movie with these two kings!!!
Funmbi: For me, T’Challa is the highlight of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. And though there’s only a week between the events of CIVIL WAR and BLACK PANTHER, it seems to me that BP-T’Challa is vastly different from CW-T’Challa. In CIVIL WAR, T’Challa (perhaps overwhelmed with grief) is hell-bent on avenging his father’s murder, but by the end of the film, finds his way towards mercy. And it’s this thoughtful and merciful T’Challa who returns to Wakanda. He wants to do right by his people, but he also wants to do right by the kings who have come before him. To me, that legacy and the “Wakanda first” isolationism are what weigh T’Challa down. But it’s Nakia and Shuri and Okoye and Ramonda, these gifted woman, who guide T’Challa to other possibilities. T’Challa’s willingness to listen to these women allows him to strike a balance between protecting all the things that make Wakanda special, while recognizing that changing with the times provides opportunities to forge new paths that strengthen Wakanda and her allies across the world.
Danielle: I think he did because he had a lot of heart and soul in his reign. Even when everyone had wanted to do the same things that his father had used, T’Challa wanted to use different methods to keep Wakanda’s spirit alive. Also, the best moment for T’Challa as a king was when he stood up to his father in the spirit world after he’d found out about Killmonger’s childhood. He realized that as a nation, they had to do better and more to help not just Wakandans, but everybody.
The women of Black Panther were powerhouses who led change and defended their nation no matter what. Who was your favorite female warrior? What does it mean for Wakanda that women are the warriors, spies, and creators?
Lyra: OKOYYYYYE! I KNOW THIS IS WEIRD AND YOU WON’T UNDERSTAND IF YOU’RE NOT A FANGIRL, BUT…I WILL SAVE MYSELF FOR OKOYE AND DEDICATE MYSELF TO HER EVERY TEACHING! *deep breath* Now that this fangirl moment is over let’s talk the women of Wakanda. Okoye is my favorite, hands down, but it’s amazing that I didn’t have to pick a favorite and I knew it while watching this movie. They didn’t just separate the women into the boring categories of “lover, friend, fuck, family, etc.” The women of Wakanda don’t have time for those silly and simplistic views of women. They’ve got a nation to protect, ass that needs to be kicked, and white boy colonizers that need to be healed with their amazing technological marvels. These women are an example to little girls that you don’t have to fit into anyone’s little box. You can multifaceted, weird, funny, and so damn brilliant that you put Tony Stark to shame. You can be anything you want and there’s no stopping you, especially when you have a group of like minded women behind you!
Lizzie: I CAN’T PICK ONE. I just can’t. I loved them all, so much. But since there are questions about the other two, I want to focus specifically on Okoye and how it felt to see her not just kick ass, but kick more ass than anyone in this movie, T’Challa included. It made my heart soar and tears come to my eyes more than once. Being a strong woman is so often reduced to enduring pain or things like that and Okoye just obliterated all those stereotypes. She gets to be a “strong” woman in the actual physical sense of the word, and she does that not because she’s physically imposing, but because she’s trained her ass off to get there.
Naomi: The General, The Best Warrior in Wakanda, Leader of the Dora Milaje-
Okoye was my favorite female warrior- probably my favorite character if you twist my arm and make me choose. She was beautiful, powerful and damn hilarious. I almost died when she looked at Agent Ross with that side eye when he kept touching T’Challa!
I also appreciated the complexity of her feelings for serving the country and the throne versus her obvious love and dedication to T’Challa. Perfection.
Funmbi: Nakia and Okoye are my homegirls, but COME TO ME SHURI! Shuri is who my 16-year old self wishes she could be. Hell, as a 33-year old, Shuri is my shero! Letitia Wright has done such a good job of bringing the character’s multiple, fierce facets to the screen. First, Shuri is a little sister–she’s quirky and a little annoying at times, but when it’s all said and done, she loves her big brother and has his back, no matter what. Shuri uses her scientific intellect to serve her country and also to make sure her brother is able to carry out his missions and safely return home. And when the time comes, Shuri is ready to grab a weapon and enter the fray to defend Wakanda and the people she loves. Despite being a patriarchal society (in that the kingship is passed from father to son), Wakanda’s very backbone is its women. Wakanda’s women are her defenders, her leaders, her innovators, and much more. It’s glorious to see Black women front and center on-screen, as we certainly are in our own communities in real life.
Danielle: I loved all of the women of Wakanda, but I felt more attached to both Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira’s characters. Danai’s character was this badass, flippant, take-no-prisoners type of woman that didn’t let anyone walk all over her, not even her boyfriend! She didn’t change anything about herself for anyone or anything, and was willing to do anything to defend her country. Lupita’s character was also badass, but she had more heart with her that focused more on helping people rather than fighting.
Nakia wasn’t just T’Challa’s love interest. She was a warrior, a leader, and a woman who wanted to help those who needed it. How important is it that Black Panther chose to take this route with Nakia?
Lyra: It was important to make Nakia a warrior, a leader, and a woman who wanted to help those who needed it…not because T’Challa “needed” a strong partner in life. It was important to take this route with Nakia because WOMEN ARE THIS MULTIFACETED AND IT’S TIME THE WORLD KNEW IT! She wasn’t defined by T’Challa and she didn’t have to give up her dreams and aspirations for him. This woman was doing things to the beat of her own drum and she didn’t care who knew it or if T’Challa didn’t like it. It’s independence, it’s breaking those chains that have tied female love interests to the men in their lives. AND IT’S SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL! Because of how they wrote Nakia, because of the fire and passion in her to do what was right no matter what, I and probably T’Challa too, have come to respect her and would be honored to have her as a partner in my life.
Lizzie: I think it made the love story all the more powerful, because it wasn’t just about their love, and the drama between them wasn’t some silly drama, it was something real and profound, that didn’t, in any way, affect their feelings for each other. I also truly appreciated that they made Nakia her own woman, and that she had a journey of her own to take in this movie, and that she could come to realize that she could achieve what she wanted and be the person she wanted by T’Challa’s side, that she didn’t need to be alone to do it.
Naomi: When Okoye said to T’Challa “Don’t freeze” in the trailer for the movie, I had no idea that she was talking about being stuck because he was smitten by a woman. It was so cute when I finally saw it all come together. If you go with the behind every good man is a good woman trope, Nakia fits the bill. (She surely wouldn’t be behind him though-let’s go with another preposition: beside) I think Nakia’s character development was so important to the movie because it helped to lay the groundwork for T’Challa’s next steps and the future of Wakanda. As a woman in her own right, she challenged T’Challa and the country as well. T’Challa and Nakia holding hands as they walked into the United Nations conference signaled a new beginning for the country and therefore the world as they take a more active role. I also go back to the human aspect of the story. It was sweet to see that even though there was a lot going on around him, T’Challa was still just a young man pining over a very beautiful girl.
Funmbi: I love that the first time we meet Nakia, it’s while she’s undercover in Nigeria, working to save women and child soldiers who have been kidnapped by insurgents. In this scene, we see that Nakia is T’Challa’s equal in every single way. She’s strong and willing to put herself on the line to do what’s right. Nakia is very much her own woman with her own journey to take. In BLACK PANTHER we see her reconcile her love of Wakanda (and T’Challa) with her calling to make a difference in the world. (Please keep in mind, Nakia is the FIRST PERSON to call for Wakanda to end her isolation and share her technology, resources, and influence to help the world’s vulnerable.) It knocks me off my feet to think about how T’Challa is so nervous the first time he sees Nakia again. He’s so in awe of her. He’s so in love with her. Together, T’Challa and Nakia will make Wakanda even stronger and save the world. I believe that.
Danielle: I just talked about this in the previous question lol. But to elaborate, I liked how Nakia used her brains to help people rather than just fight and defend. Also, she wasnt the type of love interest that needed saving all of the time; she knew how to fend for herself, by herself. We need more women like her not just in superhero movies, but in all cinema genres.
Use a gif to describe how you felt when Okoye snatched her own weave and used it as a weapon.
Erik Killmonger was the kind of villain you want in your movie, tragic in the way that he became who he is today, and ultimately longing to be accepted. What did you think of Killmonger and motivations to rule Wakanda?
Lyra: I’m gonna be honest with you…at first I thought Killmonger was just any other villain. No one loved me so I’m gonna go and destroy these peeps. Same ol’ same ol’. That was me during the first part of the movie. Also, Killmonger is HOT AF and I’m having problems not rooting for him. All very valid feelings, really. Ok, let’s talk the second part of the movie after the revelations were made and you found out what he was trying to do. All I could feel then was…pity and almost like we failed him. There are probably thousands of little boys and girls who have had their families torn away from them like Killmonger did, minus the tales about Wakanda and going back home to it. And those kids, those lonely kids, have no one to help them, to guide them, in a world that’s constantly looking down on them. It makes it so I can’t really blame them for when they twist themselves up and turn out like men like Killmonger. They were set to fail from day one and it leaves me wondering what we can do as a people to help kids from falling like Erik did. Because everything he did, his motivations to rule Wakanda, were to make it so no other kid had to go what he had to. And I can’t really blame him for wanting to save someone from the pain he had to endure.
Lizzie: I think Killmonger might be the best Marvel villain to date, or at least, he comes close, not only because his background makes him feel kinda of justified, in a way – which Loki also had – but because his ultimate goal is not a bad one, even if the means he uses to achieve it are. So, there were moments where I actually thought, well, what’s so bad about what he’s saying? Isn’t it what T’Challa ended up doing in the end? Except it isn’t, and Killmonger wasn’t doing it because of the goodness of his heart, he was doing it out of anger and a need for revenge, and that’s what makes him a villain, and yet what makes him so relatable.
Naomi: I have to say that I think Michael B. Jordan killed the role of Killmonger (that sounds crazy. LOL) That being said, I didn’t completely buy his motivation for wanting to rule Wakanda. He took up his father’s mission to arm the oppressed, but his father never made mention of going back to Wakanda to take it over. I guess that’s the villainy of the villain. I love that Ryan Coogler let Erik die with his convictions rather than having a change of heart or even an ounce of regret.
Killmonger had a gaping hole that could not be filled by returning to the homeland of his father, meeting his family, or even the tears of his father from the ancestral place. I thought it was tragic that he didn’t feel an ounce of warmth towards those who would have welcomed him had they known he existed, but again I think Coogler brilliantly wove an allegory into Killmonger’s story: The young black man that becomes so cold and detached that he can kill without remorse is often the tragic tale of one who is lost.
Funmbi: *SIGH* KILLMONGER. So, I read this fantastic thinkpiece, “The Tragedy of Erik Killmonger” and, for me, Adam Serwer hits the nail on the head. Yes, Killmonger has legitimate grievances against Wakanda and legitimate goals. T’Chaka should not have killed N’Jobu… at the very least, he shouldn’t have left Erik to fend for himself. Erik’s abandonment is indicative of his larger resentment: that Wakanda would have the ability to liberate oppressed Black people around the world, but instead chooses to keep those resources so Wakanda alone thrives. Once Killmonger arrives in Wakanda, he immediately initiates his plan to seize authority and turn Wakanda’s resources to pursue Black liberation worldwide. Killmonger is very much “by any means necessary.” Kill Klaue, kill Zuri, kill T’Challa, burn all the Heart-Shaped Herb plants, kill the Dora Milaje, kill Nakia, kill Shuri.
Nothing is off limits, including replicating the processes and institutions of the White colonizers. But as Serwer says: “Black Panther does not render a verdict that violence is an unacceptable tool of black liberation—to the contrary, that is precisely how Wakanda is liberated. It renders a verdict on imperialism as a tool of black liberation, to say that the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house.” The master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house!!!!!!!!! And so, while I sympathize with Killmonger’s cause and I didn’t want him to die, I can’t get behind his eye-for-an-eye imperialism and hyper-violence towards Black women (even his own girlfriend!). If Killmonger’s plan succeeded, I totally believe we would all be worse off. However, I have to acknowledge that Killmonger AND NAKIA (!!!) are the catalysts for change, whereby Wakanda turns outward, to Oakland and wherever there are those in need.
(*SIDENOTE* I didn’t even know that Sterling K. Brown was in BLACK PANTHER until hours before I watched the movie, but he was so brilliant and heartbreaking as N’Jobu. My sympathies and criticism about Killmonger definitely apply to his dad, too.)
Danielle: I understood how Killmonger felt, because he came from a world that had its own technology, science, cultural understanding but was still cast out because he was different. And in turn, being cast out and left behind made him resentful and hateful of his own race. He’d wanted to take over in the worst way just to prove that he could do it. But in the end, it didn’t work because Wakandan people strive in harmony and peace rather than war and violence.
Being the lil’ sister of Black Panther didn’t sideline Shuri or make her story any less compelling. She was the smartest Wakandan and led a technological revolution. How did you feel about her character? Do you relate to her relationship with her brother?
Lyra: Shuri being a young woman of color at the head of the technological revolution of Wakanda…I need a moment *deep breath*…IT’S BEAUTIFULLLLLLL! First of all, there aren’t enough women in STEM fields and here you have this smart AF and funny AF young woman, creating marvelous things that will change the world. It’s groundbreaking and makes me want to see her come up against Tony Stark to see the snark explosion that occurs! It’s compelling and I hope young women see her as a shining example of what happens if you follow your dreams and enter STEM fields. You might not be the technological powerhouse of Wakanda but you can lead change and create. And that’s amazing in itself!
The fact that this movie spent extra time showing the playful side of having a sibling…SOLD MEEEEE in the first quarter of the movie. You have to respect a movie that takes time to put some love into a relationship like this. It makes the movie more relatable and hooks you with a tale of siblings, something most of us know all about.
Lizzie: I have a hard time picking a favorite between the women, but I felt very connected to Shuri, not just because she was smart – and I believe she could run circles around Tony Stark – but because she wasn’t treated as just a silly kid with a hobby. Everyone recognized how smart she was, she got the tools to work and do wonderful things and then, when she did them, no one was like, they were made by a girl, and a teenager at that! No, everyone was like cool Shuri, you’re awesome, what else can you do? And that, again, speaks to how well balanced the picture is and to the kind of society Wakanda was able to build.
Also, her relationship with T’Challa was adorable, and needed, because so often POC only get stories about violence and broken families and it’s so important to show this loving relationship because, as silly as it sounds, we need the good examples.
Naomi: Shuri will be the next Black Panther on screen! I declare it! She practically stole every scene she was in. “What are those?”
I loved how brillant she was, but more than anything I loved her relationship with T’Challa. The fact that she called him brother most of the time was such an effective way to convey her admiration and deep love for him. Their handshake and playful banter was a joy to watch.
Funmbi: I’ve already shared all my Shuri feels above, but I’ll never pass up and opportunity to flail all over my homegirl/little sister. I’ll just mention one of my most favorite scenes–Ross has woken up after recovering from a gunshot wound and is stumbling around Shuri’s lab. He creeps up on Shuri and she’s startles: “Don’t scare me like that, colonizer!” I. DIED. Oh goodness, that line still has me cackling, and it reflects everything I love about Shuri–her wit, humor, brutal honesty (because Wakandans will always find White people to be suspect), and intellect (after all, her tech saves Ross!).
Danielle: I loved Shuri!! I loved how she didn’t back down from any challenge and didn’t allow herself to be pushed around by big bro T’Challa! She had some of the best lines (“Don’t scare me like that, colonizer!”) and she really was the smartest Wakandan princess! I don’t have a brother, but I do have an older sister who likes to push me around sometimes, and seeing Shuri build herself up inspired me to be a better sister.
What do the two cut scenes at the end of Black Panther tell you about what’s coming next for the people of Wakanda and Avengers: Infinity Wars?
Lyra: The battle to end all battles is coming to Wakanda and I just can’t. KEEP MY BABIES SAFE, AVENGERS: INFINITY WARS! I can’t have them being hurt or seeing their home destroyed after just revealing it to the world. Also Bucky…CAPTAIN AMERICA IS GONNA DIE! THERE I SAID IT! You know it, I know it, and Bucky is going to step up and take that mantel. Do I like it? No. Is it going to happen? Yes.
Lizzie:I think it means the battle is coming to Wakanda, and that’s probably not what T’Challa wanted, but honestly, the kind of war Thanos is bringing on the world isn’t exactly something you can sit out. As for the Bucky scene, I think it clearly means the Winter Soldier is gone and Bucky Barnes is back – which just makes me think Cap’s gonna die and Bucky is going to take on the mantle because WHAT ELSE CAN I THINK? Infinity War is the culmination of so many years – they can’t all make it out, right?
Naomi: T’Challa will rule Wakanda with the women in his life by his side- just as they were as they walked into the United Nations. The Avengers: I have no real clue except perhaps much of the movie will take place in Wakanda. Shuri is gonna make Bucky a new arm, well at least she better and surely, they’re gonna make Cap another shield. Lizzie- if Cap dies, I will be so salty! If Marvel is smart, Shuri and Tony will have some great tech talks!
Funmbi: Remember in the first post-credit scene where T’Challa, Nakia, and Okoye are at the United Nations? T’Challa shares that Wakanda is ready to open up and one White ambassador in the audience is like “What does a poor African country have to offer the world?” If you were like me, I rolled my eyes and (internally) screamed “Just you wait!” So, first, Wakanda is going to open up and share its innovation and resources with the world. I imagine this would also make Wakanda a target for plunder and exploitation by Earthlings and Extraterrestrials. (I’m looking at you, Thanos!) Therefore, it totally makes sense that Wakanda would be ground-zero for the battle to save the world in INFINITY WARS. As far as Bucky, AKA White Wolf, I just wonder what he wants for himself now that he’s (presumably) no longer plagued by the Winter Soldier “curse”. Is Bucky going to become an honorary Wakandan? What will his reunion with Steve and the rest of the Avengers be like? I’m also interested to see the badass tech Shuri has for him.
Danielle: I think this means that Wakanda and the rest of the world are going to have some conflicts on how to fight more battles. Especially from T’Challa’s “peace and harmony” mentality, and the way humans deal with new things, it’ll be interesting to see how they will combine their talents to help keep things in tact. As for Bucky in the end credits scene……I don’t know how to feel about that lol. It just confused me. How did he get there?!
Was there anything we didn’t mention above that left an impression on you long after you left the theater?
Lyra: M’Baku. If there’s anything that you do for yourself today…make it that you go on Tumblr and look him up. The thirst is real and the art is beautiful.
Lizzie: I just…go back to the female characters, and how Wakanda’s an utopia not just because it’s a technological marvel because hey, equality! And that equality makes it so the male characters are devoid of the toxic masculinity that many -if not all – other superheroes are guilty of from time to time. T’Challa doesn’t see why being guarded by an army of women is strange and he feels no shame in asking for help from a woman – but he also has no problem expressing his emotions, because the world he grew up in didn’t teach him that was a bad thing. And that’s the kind of society we should strive to live on.
Naomi: Andy Serkis making it rain. Sterling K. Brown (“No tears for me?”) M’Baku saved the day and was damn funny doing it.
Funmbi: SO MANY THINGS, but I’ll highlight three–
(1) M’BAKU M’BAKU M’BAKU!!! My thirst for M’Baku is so very real and I wasn’t expecting it. Winston Duke totally blew me away! First, M’Baku and the Jabari are Nigerian and no one can tell me any different–the accent, the swagger, the arrogance, the shade–all Nigerian! Second, M’Baku and the Jabari totally come through in the clutch and help the Dora Milaje to stop W’Kabi and the Border Tribe. Third, WInston Duke is so very fine as Thick Daddy M’Baku, a whole snack, as the kids say ;)
(2) I’m still intrigued by the relationship between Okoye and W’Kabi. They’re deeply in love, but that doesn’t stop them from going head-to-head in order to pursue the causes they see as right. It’s fascinating because I believe Okoye when she tells W’Kabi that she would kill him in order to protect Wakanda and the throne. W’Kabi must believe her too, because he throws down his weapon and kneels. Yet, I have a feeling that there are no hard feelings, and Okoye and W’Kabi probably went home and had awesome makeup sexy times!
(3) Can we talk about how the White characters (Klaue, Ross, Becky at the Museum of Great Britain) are purely tools to facilitate the central stories of Black characters? As it should be.
Danielle: Not really, not anything that hasn’t been said already. I love this movie so much, not just for the diversity, but for the right representation of that diversity. I’m not African, but seeing how much work, time, effort, down to the smallest detail, was spent on this movie, made me realize how much I’ve been missing in terms of black cinema. I’m so happy that this movie exists, but it makes me want to go out and search for more stories starring undiscovered black talent. Who knows what’s out there next?!
Black Panther is out in theaters now.