Wakanda Forever | Ashley Kim

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

This is my first Marvel love letter.

I don’t even know where to begin, Marvel. You did it. You showed everyone what accurate representation looks like and how much we need it. In 135 minutes, my entire existence was completely redefined. All I want to do now is live for the fictional city of Wakanda and shout “Wakanda forever,” as I did many times walking out of the theater upon seeing it for the first time, and have many times since.

In its opening weekend, Black Panther raked in more than $230 million. That number is—obviously—record breaking, and I’m proud to say that I contributed to it.

The only person I came across who thought Black Panther would be over-hyped was a white man (we’ll call him Bill).

Bill is one of the biggest Marvel fans I know. I asked him if he had seen BP yet, and he shook his head. “I just don’t think it will live up to the hype,” he said to me, as I stared at his Captain America shirt.

“It does live up to the hype,” I said to him, passionately. I wanted to whisper, “Wakanda forever,” but felt it to be inappropriate. He clearly didn’t want to listen to me, a plebeian with no knowledge of Marvel, except that they’ve now created the greatest film of all time.

Having reservations about any Marvel film is incredibly uncharacteristic of Bill (Did I mention he’s one of the biggest Marvel fans I know?), so I think there’s something to be said about his doubts. Nearly every other Marvel film features a predominantly white cast, so could the black cast be contributing to Bill’s qualms?

I don’t want to read too far into this situation. I want to believe that a black cast wouldn’t lend someone to believe a film to be over-hyped. But, literally every other person I had spoken to about Black Panther, or heard talking about Black Panther had nothing but good things to say about it. I couldn’t understand his reservations, especially since I had come to believe that BP is an important piece of media that showcases the importance of representation.

I have yet to speak to Bill since then, and don’t know if he is among the three people who have yet to see Black Panther. But, I hope to King T’Challa he has changed his mind.

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