Black Panther: Superheroes and Inclusion
Black Panther is one of the latest Marvel movies. Viewers and critics have reacted to the film in many different ways. Some people have nothing but good things to say, while others just the opposite. Although its reviews have been mixed, Black Panther represented a turning point in the superhero genre.
Black Panther was directed by Ryan Coogler. Nearly everyone on the cast is black. The move is based on a Marvel comic of the same name. Black Panther is the first dark-skinned, African superhero.
Because of that, Black Panther was a well-recognized character for many years. Many people identified with Black Panther because he was the only comic book character of his kind.
Marvel Comics and DC are the two biggest producers of comic strips in the United States. After Marvel published Black Panther, both Marvel and DC started to include more diverse characters in their comics. Marvel soon introduced Luke Cage and Falcon, both black men. DC reinvented some of its white characters and made Green Lantern black.
From that moment on, the popularity of both producers increased significantly. That’s because more people were interested in their comics. So why is this change so important?
Inclusion and identification
To build a community, all of its members have to feel part of it in some way. When people feel like they’re a part of something, it’s much easier for society to advance. When Black Panther was published, a new era of progressive inclusion began. The comic book world and society at large started to move towards diversity.
By including characters of African, Indigenous, and Asian descent, comic producers appealed to a whole new audience. We can’t forget that the so-called “ethnic minorities” were marginalized and displaced by the white hegemony for many years.
These minorities weren’t represented in movies nor comics. When they started to be included, these ethnic minorities started to feel legitimized and recognized. This, in turn, lead to improved social dynamics because it increased people’s tolerance and understanding.
Blank Panther: A box office hit
The movie Black Panther is another step towards tolerance and equality. The movie came out in 2018, and tells the story of the Black Panther character from the comic books. It takes place in Wakanda, a fictitious African nation. After the murder of their leader and king, Wakanda has to turn to T’Challa, the prince and next in line for the throne.
T’Challa, Black Panther’s alter ego, is superhuman. He has super speed and super strength, which help him protect Wakanda. T’Challa has to face the challenges of being king. With the help of his sister Shuri, the spy Nakia, and the Dora Milaje warriors, T’Challa manages to fend off the attacks on his people.
Black Panther has challenged multiple stereotypes. Not only is the cast mostly black, which is very rare in mainstream films, but it was also an opportunity for black filmmakers. The film’s director and producers were all black.
Not only that, but Black Panther also features strong, independent, and intelligent female characters. Princess Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, is a brilliant young scientist and engineer who invents and builds for her community.
Nakia is a warrior and spy who helps women who are in situations of violence. T’Challa’s royal guard is also made up of strong, impressive women. His warriors are the best and most highly-trained in the whole kingdom.
Movies can spark social change
Movies can promote certain ideas and ideologies. Although it certainly isn’t the only factor at play, inclusive representation in the movies is a path to new ways of building and perceiving social relationships.
Equal representation is on the rise. Nowadays, we’re seeing characters from all different ethnic groups and cultures take center stage. Greater diversity on the large and small screen will make our society more tolerant and diverse as a whole.