"Black Panther" Emblazoned Black Culture as co-equal to others

Updated 29 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
"Black Panther" Emblazoned Black Culture as co-equal to others

Black Panther has conquered the cinematic world in a single four day sweep. Chadwick Boseman plays King T’Challa, a/k/a the Black Panther, a king and superhero hailing from the fictional super tech African country of Wakanda.


Sidestepping direct Marvel Universe conflicts, the utopia shreds all racial stereotypes empowering the African American in ways few flicks have solidified. 


Facing attempted nation conquering subversion T'Challa eventually teams with a squad of female warriors --- the general Okoye (Danai Gurira), spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and T’Challa’s tech-savvy younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) --- to a South Korean casino. Director Ryan ("Creed") Coogler dazzles the fight scene as more 007 or Charlie's Angels than superhero.


Panther has earned a soulfully extraordinary amount of attendance records --- with a nearly all black cast and black director. One of the white dudes is the caricature-an evil arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) . Then comes a mandatory peek at Marvel guru Stan Lee. 


But the Panther is hardly the first black-skinned character to have bounded the silver screen, however, he's the one that wears his heritage proud earning a one word "phenomenal" review from the Oprah lady.


Superhero wise, The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) came first in film and comics (1969);  his Marvel Universe history contains an asterisk (he's not American). Mackie played Nate Ruffin in "We Are Marshall," now he's chalking up tent-pole credits "Captain American :The Winter Soldier," "Avengers Age of Ultron," "Ant Man," "Captain America: Civil War," and "Avengers:Infinity War."


Blacks  have carried the "title" hero  above the credits --- Blade (Wesley Snipes), a trilogy that began in 1998;  Steel (1997 featuring  Shaquille O'Neal); Spawn (1997 Michael Jai White); Storm (from X Men, X Men Last Stand); and, D.C. casting Halle Berry in 2004 as "Catwoman" --- yet the culture of these flicks remained distinctly White.


Back in the pre "super hero" 70s , dark skinned costumed kung fu kickin', feces splattering, and bra-bustin hell cat  Cleopatra Jones and Foxy Brown (Pam Grier) headlined so-called defiant, bang, bam, pow blaxploitation  social commentaries that included Shaft (Richard Roundtree) and Superfly.  A very low budget, Abar the first Superman (1977) made it also to the big screen. 


But these were undercurrents of mainstream. Panther , like Wonder Woman, emblazoned a mystique  pride in heritage as WW did for gender.  And hints of greater diversity leaps continue, such as "Coco," the  Hispanic Disney animated character who debuted at Thanksgiving. 


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