Hubby and I don't get out much these days, with three kids under 6, date nights are (sadly) far and few between, but when we saw the preview for Marvel's latest rendition, Black Panther, being the Marvel nerds that we are, we knew we had to lock in a babysitter quick smart! So last night off we went to watch a movie for the first time in about a year!
It's the worldwide number one movie right now. Its four-day opening weekend gross of $242.1 million in the US was the second-highest of all-time which also set the record for biggest debut by an African American director.
Black Panther essentially lays out the background story of Wakanda, a fictional country in Africa that poses as a third world country to the rest of the world but sits on a mountain of a precious metal called vibranium, that has extraordinary properties giving Wakandans abilities and technologies far more advanced than any other nation. Wakandans have kept vibranium and their advancements a secret in order to keep them protected. The Black Panther is a warrior with superhuman abilities from ingesting a herb derivative of vibranium, who's duty is to protect Wakanda and it's people. Of course, as all good movie plots thicken, there is a good versus evil plot which I won't spoil, you really need to do yourself a favour and see the movie for yourself.
What sets this movie apart and why it has garnered so much media attention, is the fact it has a majority all black cast and the deep underlying themes are quite political. Aside from that, the movies special effects are second to none, the production, acting, cast, costumes, all of it is top quality.
Major critics have praised the movie, Rotten Tomatos has given it a score of 97%. Natasha Alford of The Grio said, "Black Panther is remarkable because this film is a movement, a revolution in progress, and a joy to experience all wrapped into one", and called it "a master class in what it means to be proud of who you are, where you have been and where you and your people are going." Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds said Marvel "created a masterpiece with Black Panther", adding, "it's afro-futuristic and Blackity-black as hell. It's everything I've ever desired in a live-action version of this popular superhero and yet so much more. Quite frankly, the experience is indescribable."
Black Panther doesn’t disappoint on delivering an eyeful of afro-futuristic action and superhero prowess. The highlight for me was how authentic they made Wakanda by thoughtfully weaving iconic African culture throughout the movie. What did you spot in the scenes showing Wakanda??? The landscape was a clever blend of traditional and futuristic elements. When Hubby and I saw Bolga baskets hanging from stalls in the city’s market we sat up and couldn't help but laugh with joy! People walked by stalls as super trains zoomed by. What a world! Here’s our culture and our future in one bubble of technological prowess.
The way language was portrayed was so clever. Xhosa is the main language of Wakandans; this is a real language by the Way-one of the official languages in South Africa. And the part where M' Baku added '..oh' in his sentence was soo Ghanaian! Although admittedly some of the accents did grate on me slightly, T'Challa's accent wasn't quite hitting the mark for me, Angela Basset didn't really seem to even try to add an accent and Forest Whitaker sounded like a white South African which just confused us! I would have liked a bit more consistency with the African accents but it's so forgivable given how well all other elements around language, costume, spirituality and culture are so well portrayed and you don't get the typical or borderline insulting stereotypes that appear when Africans are being portrayed.
And the costumes were just spot on, incorporating influences across various African countries. The splashes of reds inspired from the East African tribe of Maasai were boldly embedded in most of the character outfits, from the Mining tribe Elder to the Dora Milaje. And again Hubby and I cracked it when we saw T'Challe's father dressed in cloth adorning Adinkra symbols from Ghana. And again when T'Challe entered the room in one of the final scenes dressed oh so regally in his royal robes with Kente cloth borders.
It's really not hard to see why the movie is gaining high acclaim as it's truly a celebration of African culture. And of course most importantly don't miss those scenes featuring the famous Bolga baskets and don't forget to check out our current range to take a little piece of 'Wakanda' home with you!
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One of the most common questions we get asked is which is the most versatile bag out of our top selling Market Basket, Tote Bags and Kalahari Carry Bags? Each one is, of course, beautifully constructed, a unique piece of Africa artisan talent! But this makes it awfully hard to choose between them all. All in all, whatever your preference is, you can feel good knowing that your purchase will go towards supporting African artisans in rural communities.
I was so honoured to be asked to speak with Peace from Ausmumpreneur for the TV series: "Women Will Change the World". See our latest blog post to watch the full video.