The Express

Black Panther’s Success Proves the Importance of Diversity in Hollywood

Grace Aitken, Op-Ed Editor

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Ever since its release in February, Black Panther, Marvel’s newest hit, has taken the movie industry and the world by a storm.

After just 26 days in theaters, the film accrued over $1 billion, and over the four days of Presidents’ Day Weekend, the film grossed $242 million, greatly surpassing Deadpool, the previous record holder for that holiday with $152 million.

By the end of March, it was the highest grossing solo hero film of all time.

Built on top of a natural source of the powerful element vibranium, the fictional nation Wakanda is rich with technology and culture. To protect the country, King T’Challa (the Black Panther), played by Chadwick Boseman, as well as his predecessors conceal the nation’s wealth and prosperity.

The troubled antagonist Erik Killmonger, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, strives to liberate the African community around the world by weaponizing them, using Wakanda technology.

This film sets a new standard for superhero movies. Not only did it have the cutting edge special effects and plenty of comedic relief that Marvel fans are familiar with, it is more socially conscious than any movie in the Marvel franchise has ever been.”

This film sets a new standard for superhero movies. Not only did it have the cutting edge special effects and plenty of comedic relief that Marvel fans are familiar with, it is more socially conscious than any movie in the Marvel franchise has ever been. It exemplifies black excellence while giving women power that rivals what was seen in Wonder Woman last summer.

Because of this movie, the tired myth that casting actors of color will “lower the universal appeal for the movie” is officially debunked. Studio executives can no longer ignore the fact that diversifying movies sells.

Similar to Hidden Figures, which came out in early 2017, Black Panther showcases women of color as leaders in technology. Shuri, King T’Challa’s little sister portrayed by Letitia Wright, is the head developer of new technology for Wakanda. Throughout the movie, she is shown creating innovative inventions and helps both the protagonist and her country.

If Black Panther has proved one thing, it’s that representation matters. It is important for everyone to see people that look like them represented in the media. Now more than ever it is important for children of color to see an African superhero, an African head scientist, and female warriors, especially a world where our president calls African and Latino nations “s***hole countries.”

Black Panther is not just a superhero movie: it’s the beginning of a movement. Along with Get Out, Girls Trip, and other films with predominantly black casts that came out in the last year, Black Panther has proved that the desire for diversity in Hollywood is blooming, and it will only continue to grow.

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