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Black Panther is a ‘Deeply Politicized’ Film, Africana Studies Experts Say

By: Meredith Liu and Grace Yuan,  The Cornell Daily Sun
March 4, 2018

In light of the huge success and heated discussion around the recent Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther,” several scholars of Africana Studies examined its cultural significance in the current political environment and dissected the historical and political elements behind the movie.

Prof. N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba, African and diaspora education, commended the movie for its representation of Africans and those of African descent by comparing it with the inauguration of former president Barack Obama in 2009.

“Experiencing Black Panther as [it is] in the center of Hollywood is like [experiencing] the inauguration again in 2009,” Assié-Lumumba said. “I once said, ‘Obama will not change the institutions or the system,’ but what we can gain from him and the movie is shattering the idea that there are barriers for African people.”

...Despite the “understandable defensiveness” of many social media users against politicizing the movie, Prof. Russell Rickford, history, said that Black Panther is “already deeply politicized” because of its indirect connection to current events.

...Prof. Kevin Gaines, Africana studies, described how people tend to remember figures like Queen Elizabeth I when thinking about female rulers in history, often forgetting about powerful African women like Queen Njinga of Angola.

Read the entire Cornell Daily Sun piece here.