Sunday, April 11, 2021

“Black Panther” sets records, erases stigma

Like any other Marvel release, “Black Panther” was surrounded with excitement the moment it was announced, but unlike other Marvel installments, “Black Panther” attracted a different kind of attention.

Marvel’s latest critically-acclaimed movie follows Prince T’Challa as he returns to the fictional African country of Wakanda to assume its throne after his father’s death.
With an African American director and a mostly-black main cast, “Black Panther” is more than just a movie for many.

“It was just so different from any other movie I’ve seen before,” senior broadcast journalism major Mariam Abdallah said. “Everyone was like me. Every woman was so powerful. All the men were so powerful. It was just a great experience overall.”

Headlined by actors Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o, the movie features a diverse and accomplished cast who come from the United Kingdom, Guyana and Kenya, just to name a few countries.

Marvel didn’t stop assembling talented artists at the actors though. It enlisted the help of 11-time Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Who better to define the movie’s sound than Kendrick Lamar, who released one of 2015’s most depressing, yet empowering projects in “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
An album dedicated to the struggles of African Americans, Lamar best summarizes his album’s impact on a featured verse on Rapsody’s “Power.”

In the verse, Lamar recalls the album’s sleeve: Lamar with friends and family, who like him, are from Compton, California, triumphantly posing on the White House’s lawn while they wave wads of cash and liquor.

“Black Panther” hit theaters like a comet, smashing records, setting cultural milestones and erasing stigmas against predominantly-black movies.

The movie ended its opening weekend with a massive $387 million in worldwide sales, according to comScore, a measurement and analytics company, and as a result became the top-grossing movie in history with a black director at the helm.

“Black Panther” overtook the previous record holder, 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” which earned $214 million worldwide in its opening weekend.

Driving the movie’s sales was an audience largely made up of black members. 37 percent of attendees were black, well above the average of 15 percent, as reported by comScore.
In a letter addressed to fans of the movie, director Coogler expressed what “Black Panther” meant to him.

“Never in a million years did we imagine you all would come out this strong,” he said. “To see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing celebrating their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with friends and family and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theatres – often moved me and my wife to tears.”

Email Fernando Alba at fuse@cardinalpointsonline.com

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