Black Panther: The Next Leap to Hollywood Diversity

By Alexandra Marusko, Social Media Editor

Marvel’s newest movie Black Panther has been crushing box office records since its premiere on February 16, 2018.

The movie follows T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman), also known as the Black Panther, and his journey as the new king of Wakanda.

Almost immediately after becoming king, T’Challa must struggle with capturing Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), a villain attempting to steal Wakanda’s vibranium, a metal that helped skyrocket Wakanda into a hyper-advanced technological country.

T’Challa also must defend his newly-crowned title of king from an outsider named Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan). 

Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa in Black Panther.

Black Panther has been praised by critics for its strong and accurate display of diversity.

The most notable display is in the cast, which is made up primarily by black actors and actresses, including Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown and dozens of others.

However, the diversity in Black Panther does not stop at skin color.

The costumes worn in the movie were inspired off of African and Asian artifacts, such as shoulder armor meant to resemble Samurai armor.

The shoulder armor shown on actress Lupita Nyong’o (left) was inspired by samurai armor.

African tribes inspired producers for costumes and makeup, including lip plates that were borrowed from the Mursi tribe.

The lip plate worn by actor Isaach De Bankolé were borrowed from the Mursi tribe.

Another large section of Black Panther’s diversity are the female characters, as they are the brains and brawn of the movie, showing that men are not the only ones allowed to be the leaders and fighters.

The producers of Black Panther wanted to focus on respecting the traditions and cultures of the tribes they were inspired from.

These costumes and makeup helped with making the fictional Wakanda appear as an actual location in Africa, bringing even more praise to the movie.

The culture stems straight to the Wakandan text shown throughout the movie, which draws inspiration from Nsibidi, a language that can be found in southeast Nigeria.

The Nsibidi language shown in the picture was the base for the Wakandan language in Black Panther.

From race to gender to costumes to text, Black Panther has become the next step towards true diversity in Hollywood, and, no matter what movies might premiere afterwards, Black Panther will not be forgotten for the history it has made.