‘Black Panther’ creates a sense of pride among the black community

Black Panther 3

Gershon Harrell

With the arrival of Marvel’s “Black Panther” coming out this week, the black community is celebrating the success of “black excellence.”

“My expectations are for it to be great,” said freshman digital media production major Peter Linda. “This is the first time where there’s a national black superhero actually being shown like world wide, so it’s very much anticipated. So I expect to see like greatness, black excellence.”

T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman), serves as a leader an hero of a afrofuturism nation known as Wakanda. The nation evaded the colonial period and focused on enhancing and educating its people, becoming one of the most powerful nations in the Marvel Universe.

Dartalia Alati, Black United Students director of student relations, said if Black Wall Street had not been burned down, Americans would have had something similar to the fictional East African nation.

“I feel like we would be the most powerful nation,” she said. “But I feel like we can also do that now. If we were to focus on collective work and spending the black dollar, circulating the black dollar, I think that we could do some serious work.”

The movie is getting a lot of attention among the black community on Twitter, who are debating on what they should wear and expressing their pride in a movie that has a superhero that looks like and represents them.

“It’s stepping out of its mold where you got this white savior, and this person is always the superhero,” said Cinnamon Small, outreach program coordinator for the Department of Pan African Studies. “And I used to ask when are they going to come out with ‘Black Panther?’”

Alati said the movie is getting hype because everyone in the black community is thrilled to see a black superhero take action, especially given today’s political climate.

“So it’s really cool to get up and say this is for us, we’re excited about it and we don’t really care how you feel because we’re excited,” she said. “I think that’s why it is so important to us because we get to be big and bold about it.”

The movie can also be considered empowering for black women. “Black Panther” travels with two women companions and a military militia, Dora Milaje, made up of all black women.

“In the movie, it looks like they all have shaved heads which is so empowering and cool,” Alati said. “And a militia of women, that alone really was crazy to me. Because it’s this man, he’s super powerful and his militia is all women, which is dope, so as a black woman I feel that feels very empowering.”

Among the black community, “Black Panther” sends a message of being powerful, brave and strong Alati said.

“It’s just like the whole growing up and you see all these… very white names as super beings, and then it’s like ‘T’ Challa! Oh! Who is this?’” said senior, communications major Vondre Clark. “And then he has super strength, basically like a ‘Mr. Incredible’ and you never see that, you never do. And growing up… the representation alone is important.”

Coming out of the Obama era, Linda said Black Panther means what Obama meant to the black community when he was elected president.

“‘Black Panther’ represents the opportunity to be apologetically black,” Alati said. “To be strong and powerful, to kick some butt and not care.”

“Black Panther” officially releases in theaters Feb. 16.

Gershon Harrell is the diversity reporter. Contact him at [email protected].