The Stampede

The Black Panther and Black History Month 2018

Aman Bajwa and Moriah Costa

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During February 2018, we saw something new and fresh in the history of film with the release of “The Black Panther”, “a movie with a largely black cast, helmed by a black director, and set in a fictional African country, where the vivid art, costume, and makeup designs were all inspired by real-world African tribal traditions” (The Verve). This pivotal film happened to be released during Black History Month which some students such as Drea Smith feel was a “symbol for all young kids who wanted to be actors and actresses but had never seen anyone in movies that looked like him.” Clearly, such a powerful film has received “universally positive and enthusiastic” praise, but of course with anything new, it has faced some backlash. However, the positivity of the film itself rose above the criticism that it raised.

 

Senior, Drea Smith, who also happens to be the president of the Black Student Union at Rodriguez mentioned “I think this movie is a turning point for society.” Senior, Illiana Hearing, agreed, saying “the film industry needed this diversity,” and, “there are so many black roles. It’s not all about white people getting all the main parts. Black people are important too.” They went on to talk about their feelings on Africa being represented as a technologically advanced continent in the movie’s setting of Wakanda, Iliana mentioning, “I think it was cool that Africa was portrayed as technologically advanced,” and Drea elaborating that “Africa’s portrayal as a technologically advanced continent is great. I’d like to think that there is some truth behind Wakanda. A lot of times, when people think about Africa they think about the bad. Not all of Africa is impoverished. There are parts are developed and we should focus on the good that is happening in Africa too.” Drea also gave us a little background on the foundation of Black History Month as she mentioned, ”Black History Month started out as Black History Week around 1926. Around the 60’s and 70’s, it turned into Black History Month.” Both students fully support the movie, Drea explaining “this movie is just another great thing that African Americans have done,” and that ,”it was the right decision to release this movie during black history month.” The overwhelming support and love proves that people can come together to celebrate a culture with little representation. #WakandaForever

picture credit: IMDB

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