Marvel’s Black Panther celebrates melanin magic, which has become a hot topic on Twitter recently. Some folks have said that all this movie melanin magic excludes lighter-skinned Blacks, with the film showing an abundance of darker-skinned characters.
Users have talked about an underwhelming number of lighter-skinned actors and actresses in the film, and that this lack of representation hints at colorism. Here are some of the tweets:
On the other hand, several folks have are not on board the colorism train and believe the film should just be celebrated.
It’s hard to watch this debate develop without examining the film’s characters. Yes, the primary, secondary and even a great number of background characters in Wakanda are played by darker-skinned actors and actress. Chadwick Boseman‘s T’Challa/Black Panther is the brother of “melanined” Princess Shuri, played by the hilarious Letitia Wright. T’Challa is the love interest to “melanined” super spy Nakia, played by the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o. And even Danai Gurira‘s Okoye steals hearts as the unapologetic leader of the darker-skinned elite team of Wakandan female warriors and bodyguards known as the Dora Milaje.
Basically, T’Challa momma, family, lady and crew are brown or dark-skinned.
But the film has found a loving embrace and gotten props from the spectrum of light, brown and dark-skinned folks around the world. It has been considered a great victory for all Black folks, a fact that can’t be ignored in this debate.
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler knows this global reception and the representation of Black faces in his record-breaking film are highly significant to Black folks everywhere.
“Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent,” Coogler wrote in an open letter to fans shared by Entertainment Weekly. “Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong.”
He continued, “t still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters often moved me and my wife to tears.”
The debate surely proves one thing: Black Panther matters.