The Powerful Women of Wakanda

Black Panther is the movie everyone has been looking forward to, and it did not disappoint. It’s full of epic fight scenes, sure to make anyone go “Oooh!”. A phenomenal visual piece itself featuring amazing graphics, design, vibrant colors and in general, the entire cinematography. Even though, Wakanda is a fictional country, the movie gave the continent of Africa a whole new perspective.

“There is a lot that you do not see of the continent on a large scale, so very frightening stereotypes have been allowed to perpetuate over time without them even coming from the source,” Dani Gurira says. “A lot of what is pulled from in the imagery [of the film] is pulled from actual examples across the continent. So, there’s something very celebratory about it.”

In my opinion, the best aspect of the movie were the strong, bold women of Wakanda. Wakanda understands that to perform at its best the women need to be at their fullest potential. This brings more opportunity for women to succeed and fulfil their dreams and ambitions. The Wakanda women are dynamic, powerful and discerning leaders with separate ambitions and ideas than their male counterparts. These women do not wait to be saved because they’re their own saviors and that’s evident within the entire film.

Chadwick Boseman’s Character, T’Challa, aka Black Panther isn’t the only hero. His equally bad ass female characters are pivotal to his success and fight alongside him. T’Challa’s little sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is the intelligence behind Black Panther and all his high-tech gear. She has a personality charm and the boldness to stand up for herself and others. She speaks with her intelligence which I love. I think it tells girls it’s okay if you’re not louder or bolder. Being intelligent is a win too.  Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakita a spy who battles between her love for Wakanda and her love to help the vulnerable. Nakita is a street fighter who uses ring blades, bold jujitsu and capoeira fight style. She holds her own in any circumstance and that’s what little girls need to see. T’Challa’s mother, Queen Ramona (Angela Bassett), counsels her son as he finds his way as the new King. I would describe her as the strong silent type. My personal favorite was Okoye (Dani Gurira) the most bad ass of them all. She is the leader of the Dora Mailaje which is the kings all woman personal protective force, she is T’Challa’s leading intelligence officer and the general of Wakanda’s army. Can I please be her when I grow up?

Black Panther is different from any of the previous Marvel movies because never have they made a movie to encapsulate the true beauty of the African continent while simultaneously putting so many strong powerful black women up front in heroic roles. It’s the women that set Black Panther apart. They’re outstanding—the reason I will go see it again. I proudly noticed that when any of the fight scenes started none of the women waited to be saved. They jumped in, often being the first to initiate a fight. Okoye, being Wakanda’s best warrior, took any chance she got to fight for the safety of her Nation. Nakita, being the love interest to T’Challa holds her own the entire film making it known that she decides her fate and decides when she wants to settle down.

“It’s deeply refreshing. I’m around very interesting, powerful women all the time, but I don’t see it on screen much,” she says. “I’m surrounded by women who are doing amazing things, who strive with great purpose toward their goals, have agency and powerful work ethics. They never wait around to be saved by anyone else. I’m really excited to see those depictions coming to the screen” explained Gurira.

I also want to point out that having four different women of color with four different personalities gives black girls more options to relate too. Anyone remember picking the only brown character to “be” for anything because that was the only option that looked like you? I do, but now I imagine little girls can pick whoever they want because they all look like them. You can be the strong silent type where it’s okay if you don’t smile all the time because look at Okoye she doesn’t always smile and look how fierce she is. It’s okay to be smarter than most and crack jokes and try to invent things, look at Shuri she does it and she’s so cool. It’s okay to sit on your own thrown and give guidance to those you love when it comes time. What you have to say matters, look at Queen Ramona she does it and embodies grace and wisdom while doing it. It’s okay to put boys on hold while you follow your dreams, look at Nakita she does it and is the best in her country while doing so. This movie is a game changer for sure. All four women had their own sense of humor and moments in the movie where they were presented as sarcastic and witty. Along with being opinionated; each in their own way a revolutionary, this film gave little girls and women a new look at themselves and how they see their future. It gave them options. Don’t believe me? Go see the movie for yourself.

Written by Taylor Christian

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