Black Panther gives representation to black community.
The black community welcomed the release of the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature black protagonists.
“Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler on a $200 million budget, according to Vulture, earned $192 million USD in the box office its opening weekend, according to The New York Times.
The highly-anticipated Marvel film was released on Feb. 16 and has earned a 97 percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is a continuation of King T’Challa’s story from “Captain America: Civil War” in which his father dies and he inherits the throne of a fictional, technologically-advanced country in East Africa called Wakanda.
The Black Panther was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1966. Lee created this character during the Civil Rights Movement and, according to the documentary film “With Great Power,” wanted to see more black people in comics. He has been known for being at the forefront of civil rights issues and creating characters that do not fit into normal society.
Members of the black community are looking forward to how this movie will impact the future of black character’s roles in pop culture and the media. China Armstrong, a student at John Brown University, believes that the film will open more opportunities for black actors.
“I feel that having an all-black cast will impact the future in a positive way. It will show that black people can star in multiple roles outside of the limited ones that are available for them,” she said, “They’ll also show black characters can be more than just the ‘funny friend’ or ‘sidekick’ and be the main lead.”
“Black Panther” has started conversations in the United States about how marginalized people groups are perceived in the media and pop culture. Senior family and human services major Nesha White believes that positive representation is important for disenfranchised people groups.
“I believe representation matters in all areas of life. In general I think it is important to have positive representation of people who have historically been disenfranchised. Representation turns idealistic opportunities into realistic ones. For Black Panther specifically, representation is everything. Black and brown little boys and girls can see themselves as the hero and not the villain,” White said.
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are thrilled to see more diversity come to their favorite superhero movies. A self-proclaimed Marvel superfan from Oklahoma University, Lauren Howard is excited to see Marvel diversify their cast.
Howard said, “I hope that having a black main character in Black Panther will pave the way for even more diversity and roles for people of color in their movies because Marvel is not diverse. I want my Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel movie, too.”