Breaking box-office and various records world-wide, Black Panther is surely in contention to become THE movie of 2018. The first African superhero movie in the Marvel universe it follows T’Challa who after his father’s death takes over as King of Wakanda. With brilliant acting, a powerful storyline and amazing cinematography it has what it takes to become a box-office hit.
But a huge high five goes to the way women are portrayed in the movie. Traditionally when women are cast they usually fall in the category of “damsel in distress”, this is usually the role where when you fall into trouble you wait for the handsome lead actor to rescue you or you are cast as the sexy, eye candy chick who helps the lead actor, but that’s not the case in Blank Panther. The Dora Milaje, are a group of beautiful, powerfully skilled women assembled from 18 tribes in Wakanda who are entrusted with the role of protecting the King. When I say powerful I don’t mean in the juju sort of way many might think but rather skilled soldiers who can give anyone a run for their money in the battle field.
Lead by Okoye whose role is played by our very own Danai Gurira, her character in the movie only comes second to the Black Panther himself in terms of prowess (that shows how powerful she is). What makes Black Panther different from so many other Hollywood movies is the way women control the flow of the movie they are not just cast as eye candy but actually have pivotal roles to play.
Blank Panther also smashes the stereotypical kind of beauty enthroned on us by the Western world. When you think of beauty you usually think of a woman with Brazilian or Peruvian hair weaves, thin nose etc but the Dora Milage is an ensemble of beautiful bald headed women representing every shade of skin color Africa has. This portrayal is quite significant in the way people view African women, it shows the world a different kind of beauty our very own African beauty.
Shuri, played by Letitia Wright is T’Challa’s little sister a genius whose inventions help her brother and country defeat evil forces. This is probably one of those few movies African women and in general the whole continent is portrayed in a positive light at such a massive grand stage in the entertainment industry and we look forward to many more such movies.
By Chipo Kakora