In movie theaters Feb 16
African fashion fever
Is it a drone? Is it a spaceship? No, it’s the African superhero Black Panther!
Welcome to Wakanda!
Marvel’s highly anticipated film is in movie theaters in a few days time and Africa is feeling the frenzy.
On the continent the movie is open for public screening on February 16. Kenyans in Kisumu, hometown of film star Lupita Nyong’o, will get to see it before the rest of Africa on February 13.
There’s a palpable excitement.
While this is still an American film and not the first black superhero movie (there’s been Blade, Steel and Hancock to name a few), this feels like the most African: there’s African actors, speaking an African language isiXhosa, living in an – albeit fictional – African country.
Plus with an estimated value of $90.7 trillion, Black Panther is the wealthiest Marvel character of all time.
The father of Lupita Nyong’o, Anyang Nyong’o, wrote in an article for Kenyan newspaper The Star: “There is more to this action-packed movie that one can only discern by reflecting on the messages that the actors keep on passing. And it is a very interesting reflection about Africa’s predicament and “the history we have missed to make so far.”
The continent is also in a fashion fever, inspired by the costumes in the movie.
Community and Teamwork
There is talk in Nigeria and Kenya about dressing in uniform African clothes (called Aso ebi by Yorubas in Nigeria) to express solidarity and community.
There are at least eight GoFundMe accounts set up to help kids of color see the movie.
In Mississippi Octavia Spencer, the star of Hidden Figures, has made an offer to buy out a Mississippi movie theater on Instagram.
“I think I will buy out a theater in an underserved community there to ensure that all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero,” Spencer said.
The long awaited movie is here and African fans are ready, dressed and feeling the hype.