/The Black Panther Phenomenon: Evaluating its Significance

The Black Panther Phenomenon: Evaluating its Significance

Wakanda Forever! For the past 4 weeks, this is the catch phrase that has been on everyone’s lips. Marvel’s highly anticipated Black Panther was released in the middle of last month, and it instantly become a smash hit, breaking record after record on its way (it already grossed over $1 billion at the box office).

With people still filling up cinemas to see the number 1 movie in the world right now (no kidding. I just saw it about three days ago and even though it’s been released for over a month now, the cinema was still filled up), we’re here to take a quick look at the impact of the movie itself:

It’s a pointer to just how great Africa is (or can be)

Now, a point like this is slightly finicky. Here’s why; while I personally believe in the whole black excellence thing, I’ve never really been a fan of the whole “Black Panther shows what Africa would have been without being colonized” jab (I mean, come on. It’s fiction for God’s sake).  However, if there’s one thing that the movie has been able to do, it’s bring people to a better understanding of the greatness that is the African continent. It actually shows that we have what it takes to move forward, if we put our minds and focus to it.

It’ll add a boatload of cash to Marvel’s budget

Marvel (the company behind Black Panther and a host of other movies) has been hitting some astronomical levels of success the past few years. I’m pretty sure those guys could do with an extra billion dollars in the bank.

The deeper cultural significance

Although he was just an object of fiction, the Black Panther was always important to young, black readers as he represented a brilliant, strong, independent, and resourceful man with the prowess of the biggest and most popular heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, and the others. This was pretty obvious as it broke the paradigm and mainstream point of view that young people of black descent will always rely on the guidance of their white counterparts and are practically incapable of doing great thing of their own.

Girl power, people!

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll notice that King T’Challa’s persona bodyguard service consisted of women (known as the Dora Milaje). While a lot of people have come out to see this as a happy accident, it actually is not.

This move was made in a bid to depict women empowerment- a concept that seems to get less and less prominence in today’s world. It shows women being what they want to be; strong, driven, courageous and fierce; a defiance to the patriarchal world that we live in today, where women are perceived to be weak and timid.

Dahunsi Oyedele

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