The Cultural Impact of ‘Black Panther’

Whenever there is tons of hype about something, the greater chance it has to become a bust. In the case of “Black Panther,” it surpassed those great expectations and did so while still preserving African culture.

The first time I heard about the movie was through Twitter, as it was gaining tons of praises for being the first all-black superhero movie. With that fact alone, it was hard not to get excited about it because it is literally something that we have never seen before.

One way it maintained African culture is by having a true African American takeover with the not only the whole cast being black with actors like Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Forrest Whittaker, and more, but the director, Ryan Coogler, is also black.

Coogler’s only directed two other films, which were “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed,” two films that were also predominantly black and both have won awards and were nominated for even more.

The fact that Black Panther is only Coogler’s third film speaks volumes to his talent, especially doing so as a black man at the young age of 31, since most Hollywood directors are older white males.

Another way the movie preserved black culture was by the language used.

Although there were a lot of modern jokes made throughout the movie, it is based in Africa, and every actor spoke English with an African accent and even spoke in African dialect at times, which included subtitles any time they did.

Something like an accent is something minor, but for me, that went a long way in preserving black culture.

The director could have easily just had the actors speak regularly since the cast was already all black. Since each character spoke with an African accent and even in African dialect, it made the movie that much more authentic.

Another form of language important to the film was the character of Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. The fact that he grew up in Oakland, Calif., and when he went Wakanda, the place where the Black Panther and his people reside, he stayed true to where he is from by speaking in Ebonics and only speaking in African dialect when he had to prove he is a member of the Black Panther’s royal family.

This was important because he was noted as being American instead of being from Wakanda, and Ebonics, or Black English, is popular in Oakland, a predominantly black area. By Michael B. Jordan’s character speaking in Ebonics, it emphasized that he lived in America his whole life and representing how blacks in predominantly black areas would speak.

The biggest way that black culture was represented in the movie was the representation of the different African tribes.

Having the element of the different tribes was something that I was not expecting and was pleasantly surprising. It is not that I did not expect any tribes to be in the movie, but the fact that there were so many represented.

The scene that stood out most to me in representing the different tribes was when T’Challa, the main character, is being announced as the official Black Panther and when one of the leaders asks if any of the different tribes objected, and there were just so many represented, followed by another tribe coming out challenging the newly appointed Black Panther.

Overall, I believe that Black Panther did an excellent job staying true to black culture, while representing it in a multitude of ways that was successful. Another element that added greatly in representing black culture is the soundtrack to the film, which was mostly done under the creativeness of Kendrick Lamar, who is regarded as one of the best artists ever.

Based off seeing the movie on its opening night, I believe that “Black Panther” will be remembered as one of the greatest movies of all-time and will certainly be attached to black culture as one of the culture’s most epic pieces of art.