For the culture, Black Panther is a phenomenon; much more it is a celebration of the brand Africa. Africa is a brand known for its strength, versatility, creativity and natural beauty. For an almost all black cast, black director, black superhero lead, releasing during Black History Month, and most importantly in my opinion, set in Africa- what more could the Africa brand ask for than this brilliant display of its richness.

Colourful best describes the movie that already has cult followers. Wakanda (the fictitious country where the movie Black Panther is set) is on the lips of thousands of movie goers who troop in day and night to watch at the cinemas. Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler.

 

Picking accents belonging to fellow Africans from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria South Africa and so many other African countries and beautifully crafting them to be spoken by a mix of true blood Africans (the two Kanis, Lupita …) and Africa Americans in the cast was very awesome. You couldn’t help marvel at Igbo and Yoruba accents (Nigerian tribes) coming out boldly from the cast. The long drawl er sound of the people of Ghana (West Africa) was picked about twice too. Angela Basset and Forest Whitaker were spectacular with their deliverables, both, to me, moved in and out of being Egyptian god and goddess respectively in their gait and Swahilian in their gesticulation and intonation.

Also, rich African fashion was showcased in the movie. Notable were prints, guinea brocade sewn into African shirt and trouser for Martin Freeman, tunics and royal robes – all African. The elaborate mix of different culture fashion design gives viewers the feeling of looking at the map of Africa.

 

 

There were brightly patterned wax prints, neon-colored lip plates, and regal, elaborate headdresses, all integrating aspects of different African values and traditions, graphics that exist outside the Western fancy.

Another beautiful thing in the movie is the score. Truly African. The Yoruba talking drum and the bata (both percussion) which climbed so easily though a pot pourri of other instruments could quicken any spirit- and that was the intention. Why? The two were used during the combats. They echoed through, bringing on, the memory of Ross’s Lion King song- He lives In You; which had good use of the talking drum and bata. Ludwig Göransson—the composer of the Black Panther’s score was careful not to impose a standard orchestra theme but allowed African accents to weave through, thereby creating a score still rich in African descent. But when the villain, Killmonger was being portrayed in the movie, a noticeable disruption to reflect a known stranger who has both the Wakandan spirit and an African American upbringing came in the form of hip pop. It was still beautiful.

Black Panther oozes Africa in its totality. It is a call up for Africans in the diaspora and in their native homes to embrace the beauty within. It is a call up to beam brand Africa.

By Kehinde Olesin