The Undeniable Black Girl Magic in ‘The Black Panther’
While I was enthusiastic about seeing a Black Superhero, it was the women of Wakanda and their undeniable Black Girl Magic that captivated me.
WARNING: The following is a MINIMAL-SPOILER review and discussion of the ‘Black Girl Magic’ found in Marvel’s The Black Panther.
After much anticipation and (quite frankly, anxiety) over whether or not this film would do well, I was incredibly pleased with the results. To say that watching Black Panther has been life changing would be an understatement. While I was enthusiastic about seeing a Black Superhero, it was the women of Wakanda that captivated me.
Last year, I took my daughter to see Wonder Woman, the notion of sisterhood and a female superhero character was something that I wanted to share with my daughter. Wonder Woman was no disappointment, and in fact, it was exceptionally well done. However, watching the women of Wakanda, women that she can identify with and even see herself within the characters, is something that cannot be compared.
The Black Panther was everything I wanted it to be and more.
It spoke to the little black girl in me, while still allowing me to feel proud of the Black woman that I am. I was overjoyed to see the screen filled with visually splendid costumes. The colors represented different African countries and heritage, and Ruth Carter (Black Panther‘s Costume Designer) made all this possible with exemplified research. To see black women with natural hair and done with versatility all while showcasing our natural beauty was without a doubt an intentional act by Camille Friend. To hear my daughter, say “Mommy, they look like us!” brought feelings of unimaginable joy because they did!
The movie showcased women in different roles, the four main characters were remarkable. The women of the Wakanda is Black Girl Magic in it’s purest definition.
Black Girl Magic is a term used to illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women. It’s about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring, or mind-blowing about ourselves.
Ramonda, played by Angela Bassett is regal, poised and protective. Her devotion to her country and children is seen throughout the film, while still keeping a firm grasp on respect, which we saw briefly between the interaction of T’Challa and Shuri. When Ramonda the Queen mother appeared on the screen, she possessed a sense of strength and devotion that a mother genuinely has for her children.
General Okoye, played by Danai Gurira truly shined in the movie. Her character was powerful, influential, and dedicated. She also showed a softer and feminine side with her love interest. She IS a superhero that I would have my daughter proud to emulate. She is the head of an all-women Wakandan bodyguard for the royal family called Dora Milaje, and she takes her job seriously with the loyalty that is unmatched.
Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o brings a balance of strength, beauty and social justice. Besides being naturally stunning, she plays the love interest of T’Challa proving that she is not a damsel waiting to be rescued by a prince but someone who wants to make changes in both her Native Wakanda and the outside world. She is well traveled and well versed in different languages and can handle herself in combat.
Shuri, played by Letitia Wright is the youngest and brightest of the group. As the younger sister of T’Challa, she proves that she is an essential member of the royal family. Her contribution to her inventions and creations makes her a dominant force both intellectually and physically.
'The idea of a little black girl feeling she can do whatever she wants to do, she feels empowered to pursue the fullest extent of her potential,' said Danai Gurira, who plays General Okoye.
These women are exquisite, powerful, and intelligent. I have seen these characteristics in female actors, but not in one movie, not all Black, and not all of them working together. They are not waiting to be rescued but operating for the empowerment of their country and people. They are the definition “Black Girl Magic”