Marvel’s Black Panther has been the most anticipated movie release in years. The pre-sale tickets sold out in record time, making history and its opening weekend is on track to bring in more than $160 million during the four day President’s Day weekend – which would be another broken record.
I’ve been a Marvel comics fan since the age of 10, when I discovered that the world of the X-Men comics was an allegory of the Civil Rights and LGBTQ movements. And I was more than excited to see Black Panther — having had it marked on all of my calendars for months. Sitting with my family, in a theater of equally excited moviegoers, actors, musicians, professors, supporters and filmmakers — iconic in their own right — was surreal, as we collectively reveled in the black magic brought to life by Ryan Coogler.
To understand that a film like Black Panther is possible speaks to the bigger implication that we now have a movie that utilizes a predominately black cast securing the same press, the same funding, the same attention from the film studio, audiences and reporters alike left an impression on my soul. Films can unabashedly be about the black experiences and how these experiences are not niche but complex and worth living on a global stage. The subtext of the movie and its very title are derivative of the Black Power movement of the ’60s. The visual symbolism of the Wakandan throne is an homage to Huey P. Newton, one of many references seeded in the film. Each female character embodies power in her own distinct way, and the female warriors, the Dora Milaje, are viewed as empowered humans, charged with the protection of Wakanda.