Black Panther: Breaking the Mould

We can all agree that Black Panther has become a cultural phenomenon, and if you disagree, then where have you been for the past 4 months?

Since its release on February 12th this year, it’s become the third highest grossing film in the US ever, overtaking classics such as Titanic and the 1999 Star Wars film, The Phantom Menace.

A reason for the magnitude that this film has succeeded to reach, is down to the amount of culture and diversity shown within and around the film – and the fact that this is rarely seen anywhere else in Hollywood.

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When we’re introduced to African American actors and characters, in most films, they tend to have a certain stereotype surrounding them, whether its the fact that they’re a minority within the cast of the film or even the idea that the audience hold, about that fact that they tend to be “killed off” first.

The way that this idea is being broadcast into society constantly to black audiences gives an impression that they’re less important and disregarded within films and its industry. This is not an ideal that needs to carry on any longer.

And so, one of the great accomplishments of Black Panther is that it has an all black cast, bar 2 characters, and what’s great about it is that there is a positive, natural aura surrounding them.

There is no mention of their plight, or racism or slavery, but instead a celebration of their culture and the continent from which these characters and actors originate from.

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As a film within a global and international community, within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was obviously going to reach a wild amount of people. The reaction to this film has been amazing and shows how relevant and important it has been to our current social climate.

Seeing this overwhelmingly emotional response to this film has just made me realise the true importance of cultural diversity within our film industries.

What I appreciate in this film is how it’s a piece that is shining a positively bright light on a minority culture and breaking the mould of stereotypical black characters within mainstream films.

It especially connects with youth audiences and gives children and young adults role models and characters that they can connect with on a personal level, to aspire to be like, and be thankful for too.

But it’s not just ideals surrounding race that Black Panther is progressing, but also in regards to how female characters are represented. T’Challa has 4 powerful female characters that he turns to; his mother, sister, love of his life and head of his Wakandan army.

Image: BlackPanther-Women.jpg

All with strong, meaningful and empowering roles within the film, each represented in their own unique way, pushes the boundaries for women of colour, and women in general, within this historically sexist industry.

So however you feel connected to this film, even if it’s just with a small aspect of it, it’s sure to make you feel proud. Proud in the fact that you’ve witnessed it, what it’s become and all the culturally motivating ideas behind it.

So to connect back to this posts’ title, I can say with confidence that Black Panther has started to break moulds within Hollywood, whilst also challenging the industry’s idea that black films don’t tend to do well overseas. It has shattered stereotypes of not only race, but also gender. The film has managed to explore ideas regarding black culture and all it holds dear whilst also being a genuinely fun and a well acclaimed film.


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