THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Black Panther, a black superhero movie, premiered across the globe on February 15, 2018. The release of the movie has spurred increasing hype for the film globally, resulting in record-breaking cinema sales. Although, some have described this hype as overblown and undeserved.
The movie tells the story of a fictional technologically advanced African nation called Wakanda and its king known as T’Challa. Long before T’Challa stepped out as king, the five tribes of this African nation warred over a meteorite that contained a fictional vibration-absorbing mineral called vibranium.
The meteorite had crash landed in Wakanda in some distant past, but generations before T’Challa had unearthed the meteorite and discovered the mound of vibranium trapped in it. They discovered the unique abilities of the metal to absorb sound and other vibrations, including kinetic energy. Unfortunately, the radiation from the vibranium deposit had also caused mutation across the plant and animal kingdom in Wakanda.
Led by T’Chaka, the former Black Panther and father of T’Challa, Wakanda had managed to isolate itself from the rest of the world and keep its vibranium away from external forces. T’Chaka later sent some of Wakanda’s best scholars to study abroad using the proceeds from occasional sale of vibranium. As a result, Wakanda became one of the world’s most technologically advanced nation.
Black Panther was the title given to the chief of the Panther tribe, one of the five main tribes of Wakanda. The other four Wakandan tribes included the River tribe, the Mining tribe, the Merchant tribe and the Border tribe. All the tribes of Wakanda had been united by T’Chaka, except Jabari (the Mountain tribe).
The movie kicks off from present day where T’Challa returns to Wakanda to claim the throne after the death of his father.
Every Black Panther, like the first Black Panther (T’Chaka), had to ingest the ‘heart-shaped herb’, a local herb which radiation from vibranium had already permeated. After ingesting the herb, Black Panther (T’Challa) gains superhuman powers that allows him protect Wakanda and conquer his sworn enemies.
Black Panther was originally a black American comic superhero character that first appeared in issue #52 of Fantastic Four which was published in July 1966 by American comic book and related media publisher Marvel Comics.
According to a report, the movie premiered in Nigeria at Filmhouse IMAX Cinema, Lekki, in Lagos, following a reception hosted by the United States Consulate in celebration of Black History month.
The global revenue of the movie whose production had cost $200 million is likely to surpass the $600 million mark this weekend. It reportedly recorded a three-day gross of $192 million which exceeds the highest record ever for a February film, and is the fifth highest of all time.
While the movie has received huge acceptance and viewing from Africans, some Africans are not happy with the film because of an inherent historical distortion and neocolonial bias.
Malena Amusa, a black American media practictioner, reportedly expressed her dissatisfaction in an article published on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, where she said:
‘As a visionary and creative professional, “Black Panther” truly inspired me. But as a historian and benefactor of the black struggle for liberation, the movie left me shocked and hurt.
Rather than giving us hope, “Black Panther” engaged in perverse colonial fantasy, telling America it can come in Africa and take whatever it wants with no measures of accountability. The movie outright slights the main argument of its original comic, which challenged the West, not acquiesced to its agenda.’
A Nigerian writer argued in a columnist arg that, ‘In the first instance, the idea of a cartoon film is alien to Nigerian culture. We love fiction, but we love fiction that is real, like the babalawo scenes. The fact that Nigerians are queuing up to see the Black Panther and treating it as an ahaa moment suggests the kind of backwardness that will not do our cinema culture any good.’
According to another report, Ijeoma Grace Agu, a Nigerian actress who spoke to journalists at the premiere screening of the movie, said, ‘For once we are not just dressed in slave clothes or doing slavery or brutality. For once we are dressed in good clothes. Seeing us exude power and strength, seeing our culture, our high fashion sense portrays us in a different light.’
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