Black Panther sparks discussion

Jessica Bollinger

Photo by Jozette Cortez

The son of an African king returns to his home in light of his father’s death to take his place as the rightful heir of his nation, until his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider.


“The Black Panther” is Marvel’s 18th film in their Marvel Cinematic Universe. Grossing over $1.2 billion worldwide, it is the highest-grossing film of 2018 so far, and the fourth highest-grossing film ever in the United States.


When the first trailer for the movie was released, it was viewed 89 million times in 24 hours.


On Friday, April 6, students and staff of different backgrounds and ethnicities crowded into Weter 202 at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the importance and impact “The Black Panther” had on not only themselves, but on society as well.


“What I found most exciting about Black Panther is it reveals history, cultures, and traditions that I never encountered before,” said English Professor and Film Critic Jeffery Overstreet.


Photo by Jozette Cortez

This movie was impactful for many because it brought to light the importance of culture and community.


“What I love about this being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the kind of sheer power not just one individual holds but the way his power came from the community,” Brian Bantum, an assistant professor of theology, said.


This idea of community and celebrating who you are is what made this movie stand out, noted various participants.


Bantum talked about the importance of what the film stood for, not only for him, but for many people in Black communities as well. Then, he opened the floor for students and faculty to give their thoughts on the film.


Much like Bantum, many students expressed their gratitude toward the movie and how big of an impact the film had on their own lives. Not only that, it was discussed how the movie paved the way for black kids to feel confident and look up to someone who looks just like them, letting them know they are just as important as anyone else.


Other students also commented on how the movie also redefined woman and how it is important to show powerful woman and their natural beauty on the big screen.


Multiple students expressed the positive impact this film has on younger generations and how important that is because it teaches them that it’s okay to be proud of who you are, while others also talked about how this film brought people of all different backgrounds and races together.


In the end, the discussion allowed students and faculty to get together to converse about the idea of diversity in a space where they could celebrate it, sharing a common love for a movie that opened the doors to more conversations about race and diversity.


“It gives you a kind of visual space where you see yourself fully and where everyone can see yourself fully,” Bantum said. “For two hours, it gives you the possibility of enduring and living into that possibility again and again.”