The Glorious Pageant Of Marvel’s Black Panther

The first great Black superhero movie is upon us. Seren Sensei speaks to its cultural significance, and its spectacle, at Riot Material. Here is a peak:

By Seren Sensei

The excitement that Marvel’s Black Panther has touched off in masses of Black people is undeniable.

It was a cultural phenomenon before it was even released, sparking conversation around Black representation in blockbuster films — particularly the lucrative comic book movie — and the importance of having Black creatives behind the camera as well as in front of it. With a Black director, writer, costumier, hairstylist, etc. and a budget of $200 million (higher than Thor: Ragnarok, for comparison), in many ways, this movie was a first of its kind. The budget and production value of this film has never been seen before, and it appeared that Marvel, now owned by Disney, was clearly addressing criticisms of diversity by throwing their full weight behind the project. Main cast members Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and newcomer Letitia Wright led a marketing campaign that placed them front and center on magazines and billboards — occasionally dressed as actual Black Panthers and even as Jesus (side note: who else remembers when Kanye West covered Rolling Stone in a crown of thorns and the world lost its shit?).

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Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther and Huey Newton, Black Panther.

To read the rest of Sensei’s essay, go to Riot Material magazine:

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RIOT MATERIAL is LA’s premier literary-cultural magazine with an eye on art, word, and forward-aiming thought. Check out our gallery on IG: @ riotmaterial.

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