Happy Tuesday loves! How are you and how were your weekends? (Comment below!) My weekend was spectacular! Hubby and I went on a date night to see the highly anticipated and long awaited Black Panther movie in IMAX on Saturday night. He is a huge Marvel fan so he’s been waiting for over a year while I’ve been on pins and needles since last fall. I’m thankful that he had us watch Captain American: Civil War earlier last week, because it introduced the Black Panther character and story line to me in a concrete way, which only heightened my excitement.
Have y’all seen it yet? If you haven’t but still plan to, you may want to stop reading now and just scroll and enjoy today’s outfit. 😉 Also, what are you waiting for?? GO WATCH BLACK PANTHER!
I’m still trying to come up with the words to describe just how proud I feel as a Nigerian American woman after watching Black Panther. I loved the deep themes of the celebration of African and Black people, the unity, the ceremonial traditions, the fashion, the reverence, lush resources and futuristic technology, and overall rich culture and history of Africa. This movie may be my favorite movie of all time. This movie stirred up so many emotions and thoughts for me that I just had to share. There were moments that brought tears to my eyes. We saw this movie on Saturday night and have literally not stopped talking about it since.
A little bit of background about myself: I was born in America and raised by Nigerian born and raised parents, ie Nigerian American. I can’t tell you how many times I was teased as a child growing up as I struggled to define my identity. I was never black enough and yet never African enough. Societal images have never portrayed Africans as the intelligent, resourceful, strong, beautiful, and rich people that we are. And to see this technologically excellent, vibrant, lush country of Wakanda on the big screen just did something to my soul. In recent years, it’s become more and more “cool” to be of African descent but I know how hard it was trying to toe the line to be accepted growing up in a small southern town. I found myself identifying with and cheering on the exceptionally powerful women (Nakia, Okoye, and Shuri) of the Black Panther cast. Yet I also found myself able to identify with both Black Panther and Eric Killmonger (crazy right?)
T’Challa (Black Panther) was born into privilege as the prince of Wakanda. He has always been by his father’s side training, learning, and preparing to be the next King. It is an expectation that he know his culture, his roots, and his people. His cousin Killmonger, was born in the US with a Wakandan father and American mother and he was desperate to get to Wakanda and see the places his father told him about and also to avenge his father’s death. There was a visible struggle for him to identify as a Black man yet also crave the acceptance of his African culture. I’ve grown up at the intersection of both cultures and at times I feel like there’s this huge divide between both. Because while I understand and identify with both, at times I don’t feel I fully belong to either.
My favorite characters in Black Panther were Okoye, Nakia, and Shuri. They had a voice, they used their voices, and led in outreach, military, and technology. As a romantic at heart, I was rooting for T’Challa and Nakia to get together and dying to know their story and why she wouldn’t stay and be with him as his Queen, though they obviously loved each other and the entire first scene was him making sure he got her attention to ask her to come back to see him crowned as King. I naively thought it was over class, tribal differences, or some sort of indiscretion. Boy I was wrong. She had a passion and calling and was determined to follow it. The only time she relented to stay and become his Queen was when he realized her talent and gifts and made an opportunity for her in Oakland. That is so rare, because like most men, he didn’t want to confine her into a box to be a trophy on his arm, he wanted to empower her to be great beside him.
There was this beautiful display of love and power in the final war as Okoye led her army of Dora Milaje women to defeat Killmonger. When W’kabi asked “are you going to kill me my love?”, and she said “absolutely, for Wakanda without a doubt”, I just knew he was going to kill her. But instead, he dropped his weapon and so did the rest of his Border tribe and that was powerful, he loved her and she wasn’t worth this petty war. When he dropped his sword, every other man dropped theirs too. Both Okoye and Nakia did not sacrifice their beliefs or values for love and they were loved even more because of it.
Last but not least, Shuri, sister of the Black Panther really won my heart in this film. Her wit, humor, and incredible genius was endearing and empowering to watch. She was the brains behind his suit, the cars, and healed the CIA agent in one day, and eventually we find out she healed Bucky who will return in May in the new Avengers movie. As a self-proclaimed science nerd who spent a lot of time competing in science fairs as a child and later earned a Biology degree, I can’t imagine what it would it would have meant to me to see Black Panther when I was younger. To witness Shuri, a powerful African woman in a STEM field who is hands and feet above any male counterpart and trusted to create weapons and transportation and more out of Vibranium was so empowering. I am excited to know that little girls and boys will now have seen her in the movie and be inspired to enter the STEM field.
I can go on and on and on about this movie. Trust me, but I want to watch it again and unpack even more. If you haven’t watched Black Panther yet, run, don’t walk to the theater and see it for yourself. The cast is rich with culture and talent and it will excite you, make you think, and tug your heart strings all at once.
Photography by Jonah Brown
[ :: Sweatshirt- gifted, Skirt- Francesca’s, Boots- DSW :: ]
I’ve also linked very similar pieces of my entire look for you to shop below:
Don’t forget to check out my Hubby’s latest episode discussing Black Panther and more from his podcast J’s Lunch Counter HERE!
Have a fabulous week!