Black Excellence! The Main Characters Of Black Panther Are The Cover Stars For The March Issue For Essence Magazine

The main characters of one of the biggest movies of 2018 grace the cover of Essence magazine’s March Issue.

There are no solid details from the interview yet, but this was the press release that came with the photos on  essence magazine’s website.

” The Wakanda we see on screen is also one that director Ryan Coogler believed had to touch on the geopolitical issues of Africa. 

“I had really been studying the effects of colonization and the African Diaspora, specifically as it relates to African-Americans and Africans, and what I hit on was this concept of what it means to be African,” Coogler told ESSENCE. “I pitched that to the studio as a main theme of exploration, and they were totally interested, which is, to their credit, really cool.”

Coogler’s vision is far different from Marvel’s initial idea of a James Bond-esque geopolitical thriller. The critically-acclaimed director’s vision of Wakanda is of an African nation untouched by colonization. It was a chance for Coogler, the film’s stars, and Black audiences to see what our world could look like had the continent never been invaded. 

“What would the African world have been without that imposition?” asks Gurira. 

Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett shares how Coogler called her up to play the character of Queen Ramonda, King T’Challa’s (Boseman) mother. She had never heard of the character, but was excited to take the role.

“But a queen is a queen is a queen of a Black nation,” she says laughing. “Just to have that opportunity to portray that image—me, a little Black girl from the Florida projects.”

Production designer Hannah Beachler spent a month traveling the coast of South Africa to create this vivid world and to reflect the agency the film’s characters show.

“We’re trying to figure out how people act because your spirit is going to be different if you were never oppressed,” she said.”

 

 

Read more on the cast of Black Panther in the March 2018 issues of ESSENCE, on newsstands Feb. 23.

Credit: Essence.com

1 Comment
  1. I’m eager to see the new Black Panther movie, but I find myself reading articles about it with a growing degree of unease. It’s wonderful that folks around the world seem so eager for an Afrocentric movie. As one who has lived briefly in South Africa, and traveled the continent widely I’m delighted that the world would be interested in the amazing cultures and peoples of Africa, especially in SS Africa. But when people begin to imply the movie is a celebration of black excellence represented in the technology of Wakanda, I have less warm feelings. Because – spoiler alert – Wakanda is not a real country. Not only that, there is nothing remotely like Wakanda anywhere in Africa. In Asia or the West, yes, but nowhere in Africa. There is no advanced success story in Africa. There are lots of reasons for this – exploitation, colonialism and the toxic influence of tribalism all contribute. But the reality is that no African country makes it even into the top 50 most advanced economies of the world. Resource rich Botswana (based on PPP Per Capita GDP) is the best and it staggers in at number 71 globally, South Africa at 89, and the next is Namibia at 102, the rest of the continent lags at the bottom globally.

    It’s embarrassing when your continent is seen as a greenhouse for failed states, but even worse if you’re told we have to make up total fictions (like Wakanda) to have any African successes to celebrate. I’m not sure what all this means, but getting excited about celebrating totally fictitious achievements makes me uneasy. We’ll see what comes of it, I suppose. But I fear it won’t lead to good, serious, hard conversations about what’s gone wrong in SS Africa and how we can help to salvage a continent.

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