The Women of Black Panther

***Spoilers Ahead***

So I was a Batman, Spiderman and Superman girl growing up.  Black Panther just wasn’t on my radar.  On top of that, I’m a Marvel movie fanatic but until Captain America: Civil War, Wakanda just wasn’t a part of my vocabulary.

However…..I saw Black Panther and LOVED IT.  My major grouse was that I thought some of the fight scenes were a bit too dark, which made paying attention to details at those moments a bit difficult but other than that, I’m so happy that this movie was made and brought to light these amazing female characters.

Okoye

Bad.Ass.  When sis threw her wig during the fight in the casino I was like, “Yaaaasss Queen!” You know you only wearing that $20 hair hat so you could use it as a weapon.  I love how she was walking around the entire time like, “I can’t believe I’m spending my evening among this trash and filth…scoff”.

After Casinopalooza came the car chase which was the giver of the existence of all things, which would have ended with me hunting down Kevin Feige if she had gotten hurt during that scene.

Her character was so important because not only did she rock a beautiful bald head (which my mum rocked for the better part of my childhood) but her fighting style had a precision and grace to it that I’d never seen before.  Her dedication to keeping her country safe above the selfish interests of the man she loved (who was still in the Sunken Place btw) made me want to jump up and help her show W’Kabi to the sofa for his night’s rest.

I think her character is important because she stood for what she believed in and was the consummate protector, a role that many of us women take on day to day without even realising it, and that is why I loved her.

okoye
Source: Black Panther Daily

Nakia

Apart from the fact that I heart eyes her name and I’m a huge Lupita Nyong’o fan (her skin, her skin, her skin … sigh), my favourite thing about her character was her belief that Wakanda, in spite of all of its success, could do better for the wider world.  It’s a view that I will forever champion.  That, and the epic shoe beatdown in the casino, because sometimes a high heel to the face is required to get your point accross.

On a serious note though, you can give back to your community.  Find a way to assist in the improvement of someone else’s life.  It doesn’t have to be a monetary contribution, you can give of your time and in many cases, you’ll realise that your effort carried much more weight than money ever could.

And of course I want to see her and T’Challa rekindle their relationship, because who doesn’t want to see #nakchall2gether4ever?

Ramonda

Everyone needs a mother or a mother figure whose love and care is deep-rooted in family.  Ramonda was it, along with her gorgeous wardrobe and hair that were just fab.  She believed in the strength of her son, even when he faced defeat and that was inspiring,  reminding me that in the end, families should embrace each other and protect each other as much as is humanly possible.

Shuri

Calling Agent Ross a “coloniser” flatlined me.  I got up and walked straight to the funeral home.  She is hands down, my favourite character.  Super intelligent, confident in her abilities, fiercely protective of her brother, loves joking around and a great sense of style (check out her ever changing hairstyles), she was an inspiration to watch.

So many reviewers have said her exclamation of “What are thoooose?” when she saw T’Challa’s shoes was one of the best lines of the movie and they’re correct, the theatre erupted during that scene and I cackled.

Hopefully her character will continue to inspire young black women to pursue STEM careers, as has been reported to have already started, because that field is definitely lacking that kind of representation in the Caribbean.  She definitely started something.

shuri
Source: The New York Public Library

The Dora Milaje

Where can I sign up for a class? Can someone point me to an outlet where I can buy a costume?  Heyyyy Halloween 2018 🙂

Generally

I am so happy to see a movie where the hairstyles showed so many different ways natural black hair could be styled.  They were definitely statements of the women’s personalities without a need for further explanation.

This isn’t the first American movie with a predominantly black cast but they stood out to me because the story simply took flight without references to hair, skin tone or general appearance and the characterisations were unlike what we’re accustomed to seeing on the silver screen.  The characters fought for what they believed in and embraced their individual and collective cultures, and I hope we can do the same as well.

The main narrative of the story, i.e. Should a technologically advanced, uncolonised African nation come to the aid of the rest of the world and if so, how, brilliantly unfolded through the eyes of Erik Killmonger, Nakia and T’Challa while showcasing a diversity of Africans and persons of African descent which had not been previously examined in that way.  It really made me think about how Caribbean people of African descent view the continent of Africa and our relationships with persons from the different countries.  Do we genuinely want to learn about our ancestors or are we satisfied with our existence as is?

The portrayal of the women as guardians of their country was timely to show that our ability as women to act as shields from harm, logical managers of tense situations (e.g. Nakia’s confiscation of the heart-shaped herb before Killmonger ordered the burning of the entire crop) and generally, leaders was an even closer step toward more diversity of female roles in films, especially for women of colour who tend to be rewarded more for their roles as maids and slaves than anything else.

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