Since the long-awaited release of the first Black Panther movie, fans across the black diaspora have felt empowered and seen, and that is why the sequel, Wakanda Forever, brought in a wide range of black people right from the release date on Friday - Marvel fans or not. 

The Black Panther films aren’t a typical Marvel movie series- they’re symbolic of the increase of black representation as well as an exhibition of African culture and fashion. Queen Ramonda’s crown is styled after a traditional Zulu headdress called Isicholo, and one of the elders has his bottom lip stretched by a ceramic plate, a tradition practiced in many parts of the world, Ethiopia and Sudan to name a few. 


The viewing of Wakanda Forever is similar to a collective mourning and many parts of the movie were shrouded in solemnity as the former Black Panther, King T’challa the protector of Wakanda, died both in the movie and in real life. His death produced a grief shared by the entire black community as he was a beacon of black excellence, filming the first movie despite battling cancer. 


Whilst the first movie had its main cultural focus on Africa, the second movie incorporated Mesoamerican elements through the antagonist of the film, Namor. The plot takes a daring political turn as it divulges the more inhumane details of the Spanish inquisition in the Americas during the 16th century. Namor’s mother, who survived the cruelty of the Spanish by fleeing underwater with others who founded Talokan, wished to be buried in her homeland. Namor, at a tender age, witnessed the brutal subjugation of his mother’s people on land. A Spanish missionary calls him a demon child and a boy without love, “el nino sin amor”, and it’s quite interesting that this is where Namor took his name from. Its symbolic of the BIPOC struggle, drawing strength from various things created to make one feel inferior - an important message. 


The Black Panther films have successfully celebrated cultures accurately in the media and it’s a safe assumption that the next films will continue in the same vein to include more overlooked cultures. So perhaps the various cultures of BIPOCs are getting the accolades they deserve, as opposed to Marvel merely appeasing the masses.