How ‘Black Panther’ Reimagined African Style

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-black-panther-reimagined-african-style_us_5a7730e0e4b01ce33eb3e6d5?section=us_black-voices

BLACK VOICES 

02/16/2018 04:38 pm ET Updated 2 days ago

From Zamunda To Wakanda: How ‘Black Panther’ Reimagined African Style

“Black Panther” is very much a mix of regional, ethnic and cultural customs. And that’s part of what makes it so brilliant.

 

he last time we saw the kind of opulence, grandeur and pure African style displayed in Marvel’s latest box office juggernaut “Black Panther” was, perhaps, 30 years ago, in the classic Eddie Murphy comedy “Coming to America.”

The film overflows with images of Africans looking amazing -- in (lion) furs, in raffia, in blinding gold. Never mind that Zamunda, protagonist Prince Akeem’s birthplace, is not a real country. Never mind that the costumes he and his cohorts wear borrow from all over the continent, from west to east to south Africa.

In “Black Panther,” set in another fictional country, called Wakanda, the depth of traditional African style is even more pronounced. In a pivotal scene at Warrior Falls, we see the entirety of Wakanda and its several tribes on display: Here we have brightly patterned wax prints, neon-colored lip plates, and regal, elaborate headdresses, all incorporating aspects of different African cultures and traditions, visuals that exist beyond the white and Western imagination. 

 

The attire of the tribes of Wakanda incorporates aspects of different African cultures and traditions.

What’s striking about the visual and sartorial elements of “Black Panther,” or “Coming to America” before it, is that its collage-like approach to the African aesthetic has, at times, been a topic of diaspora debate.

Every few years or so, Black Twitter finds itself embroiled in a conversation about the ever-thorny subject of cultural appropriation. The debate usually hinges on what should, ultimately, be a non-question: Can African Americans “appropriate” African culture?

 

A blog post titled “Black America, Please Stop Appropriating African Clothing and Tribal Marks” that made the rounds in 2017 sparked one of these discussions. The author argued that non-Africans (that is, black Americans with several generations born and raised in America) who wore things like dashikis and cowrie shells were belittling and disrespecting the traditions of African people from the continent. 

Ignoring the fact that black Americans and other black people throughout the diaspora are literally descended from Africans, and therefore, African, the author stated:

I would just like you all to realize the hypocrisy of seeing someone wearing a Fulani septum ring, rocking a djellaba, painted with Yoruba-like tribal marks, all the while claiming that this is meant to be respectful. It’s a hodgepodge, a juxtaposition, a right mess of regional, ethnic and cultural customs and it screams ignorance and cultural insensitivity.

The article is just one of many on the subject that claims African Americans and other blacks in the diaspora with no so-called direct ties to Africa are being disrespectful by rocking African styles merely for the aesthetic. These essays claim that black Americans are, in fact, equally as guilty as the white boy rocking dreads or the white girl in kente. 

But then a movie like “Black Panther” comes along, and the futility, the absurdity of such a debate is highlighted so vibrantly it makes you want to cry or laugh, or both.  

 

 

Why should any of us care about this article?

How is this not racism/cultural appropriation? 

OP,  right now:

I think they did a really good job with all the outfits

Or black women appropriating straight blonde hair?  *cough Beyonce cough*

The thing with Africa is...  It is 6000 different tribes, whereas we try to think of it as 1 continent, who identify as Africans.

The royal dick is clean

Here’s something that I don’t understand. If they like African style and culture so much. Why don’t they move there? It’s not like Africa is a fictional country like Wakanda and Zamunda. There are actual countries that exist on the African continent. Go, and try to live there for a while. I guarantee they’ll all come crying back within a month.

Hilldo -

Here’s something that I don’t understand. If they like African style and culture so much. Why don’t they move there? It’s not like Africa is a fictional country like Wakanda and Zamunda. There are actual countries that exist on the African continent. Go, and try to live there for a while. I guarantee they’ll all come crying back within a month.

Racist! 

I can't imagine being so obsessed with my own race and skin colour.  To view everything in life through the lens of colour.  What a sad and delicate way to go through life.  It's a comic book movie, calm down folks.  I did enjoy the "White boy" remark though, always gotta get a racist jab at "Whitey" whenever you can.  Extra points for claiming cultural appropriation on something that whites are recorded as wearing first, typical.

EluThingol -

Why should any of us care about this article?

Do they not realize why they use fictional African countries in these movies.....

 

Robert Thomas -
EluThingol -

Why should any of us care about this article?

Do they not realize why they use fictional African countries in these movies.....

 

THIS

 

It's not  real.people. It's fucking fake, a story, a comic book story for shits sake.

 

All these people getting all worked up over it should book their next vacation there. Go experience the real Africa. 

Hilldo - 

Here’s something that I don’t understand. If they like African style and culture so much. Why don’t they move there? It’s not like Africa is a fictional country like Wakanda and Zamunda. There are actual countries that exist on the African continent. Go, and try to live there for a while. I guarantee they’ll all come crying back within a month.


Funny how this argument only applies to black people.

You never see anyone propose that white people wearing green on St. Patrick's day go back to Ireland, or white people wearing Lederhosen on Octoberfest go back to Germany. But heaven forbid black folks wear a Dashiki. GO BACK TO AFRICA MOTHER-FUCKER!

Those who take pride in the result of pure happenstance more often than not have few or no personal accomplishments worth taking actual pride in.

The idea of identifying/defining oneself by a pure stroke of luck is laughable. Taking pride in it is even more so.

Steve4192 - 
Hilldo - 

Here’s something that I don’t understand. If they like African style and culture so much. Why don’t they move there? It’s not like Africa is a fictional country like Wakanda and Zamunda. There are actual countries that exist on the African continent. Go, and try to live there for a while. I guarantee they’ll all come crying back within a month.


Funny how this argument only applies to black people.

You never see anyone propose that white people wearing green on St. Patrick's day go back to Ireland, or white people wearing Lederhosen on Octoberfest go back to Germany. But heaven forbid black folks wear a Dashiki. GO BACK TO AFRICA MOTHER-FUCKER!

I think Irishy people from boston and NYC are pretty fucking annoying and I do tell them to go back to ireland.

So they appropriated a bunch of culturez

It created images of what Africa is fantasized about by black people.