If you haven’t heard of Marvel’s first African superhero Black Panther, that’s going to change very soon. For new fans, Black Panther’s name is T’Challa, and he’s the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society enriched by “vibranium,” a mineral deposited by a meteorite crash.
Black Panther’s powers (enhanced senses, speed healing and infinite knowledge) are derived from his connection with ancestors and deities. When he’s not assisting the Avengers in New York or completing his doctorate at Oxford (he’s a busy guy), Black Panther works tirelessly to protect his kingdom of Wakanda. The character’s on-screen debut can be seen in the blockbuster Captain America: Civil War.
There are different theories about the real-life inspiration for Wakanda. Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the new Black Panther comic books explains his in this post for The Atlantic’s website. But the actor Chadwick Boseman, who plays Black Panther in the upcoming Marvel movies, told The New York Times that Wakanda is a fictional version of “the Mutapa empire of 15th-century Zimbabwe.”
Black Panther was launched in 1966, just a few months before the Black Panther political party came on the scene. But over the years, T’Challa has pretty much played second fiddle to the likes of Daredevil and Captain America. And his storylines often revolve around divided loyalties.
In an interview with NPR, Coates shares his thoughts on how Black Panther’s story differs from other super heroes.
“The first time you see him (T’Challa), he’s tricked the Fantastic Four and he defeats the Fantastic Four, and he’s this genius, this athlete with these heightened senses and these heightened physical abilities, and he’s depicted there in all his glory.
I don’t think people should lose sight of what it meant to create an African, a black superhero in the 1960s. It happens within the midst of the civil rights movement, but I think if you search pop culture at that particular time for somebody like the Black Panther, you would come up really short. If you compare it to other areas of other pop culture, Marvel was probably pretty much ahead.
And I think what happened after that [is] there were various high points in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, but a lot of low points when folks didn’t quite know how to actually use him. And then there was a run in the late ’90s and early 2000s by a writer of the name Christopher Priest, who was probably the first writer in our modern times to really, really take Black Panther seriously and try to put him on a level with other superheroes. Where he wasn’t just a wallflower, he wasn’t just sitting in the back as kind of decoration, but actually a protagonist in his own book and that was revolutionary.”
Coming Soon: The movie teaser
Marvel released the first trailer for the widely anticipated Black Panther film. As expected, it features stunning cinematography, epic action scenes, and some great music. The highly anticipated movie is schedule to come out February 2018.
The action flick stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the Black Panther. There is also a seriously star-studded ensemble cast. On the list are Kenyan Actress Lupita Nyong’o, Ugandan Actress Florence Kasumba,Ivorian Actor Isaach de Bankolé, Zimbabwean Actress Danai Gurira, Ugandan Actor Daniel Kaluuya, South African Actor John Kani and his son Atandwa Kani.
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Nollywood Movie Featuring Beverly Naya and Mawuli Gavor Premieres At Cannes Film Festival
Nigerian movies are gradually gaining recognition on the international stage. Every year, filmmakers from around the world attend the Cannes Film Festival to showcase their works cut across all genres. Consequently, Nigeria’s romantic movie, ‘Two Weeks In Lagos’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
Two Weeks In Lagos’ is one of the two African movies to screen at the event. The other is ‘Atlantics’ by Matip Diop, a Senegalese French director. The Kathryn Fasegha’s directorial was screened at the Pavillion Afriques dedicated to Pan-African film industry on Friday, May 17. A worldwide screening will follow subsequently. The award-winning writer and director said,
“I am very excited to be at the Cannes Film Festival. For me, it’s not just about directing a movie, it is also exciting to see my movie placed at one of the biggest film platforms in the world.”
Now in its 72nd edition, the Cannes Film Festival opened on the 14th of May and will end on May 25. The Canadian-based filmmaker thanked everyone that contributed to the success of ‘Two Weeks In Lagos’.
“The Cannes film festival is one where movies from different parts of the world are showcased to promote film making. I am grateful to everyone who contributed to bringing this movie to life, from the cast to the crew and everyone indeed.”
A peek into ‘Two Weeks In Lagos’
Two Weeks In Lagos’ captures the vibrant and exciting everyday life in Lagos. However, it also portrays the complexity of the city where anything is possible within a short time. The movie follows the turbulent and thrilling romantic relationship existing between Lola (Beverly Naya) and Ejikeme (Mawuli Gavor).
Ejikeme is an investment banker in the United States. However, his path cross with Lola when he comes home (Nigeria) to invest. Theirs is a case of love at first sight. However, they have to fight the sinister motive of Ejikeme’s mother who is making plans for him to marry the only daughter of a political juggernaut, Otumba Ayodeji.
Ayodeji is making plans to pick Ejikeme’s father as his running mate for the Presidency. A clash of interest between Ejikeme and his mother also puts Lola’s family in danger. Other casts of the movie include Joke Silva, Jide Kosoko, Toyin Abraham, and Shaffy Bello. Consequently, Mawli Gavor, Beverly Naya, and Joke Silva are in France for the premiere.
Matip Diop’s Atlantics
Unlike ‘Two Weeks In Lagos’, Matip Diop’s ‘Atlantics’ also made history at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie screened in the Palme d’Or on the 16th of May. Palme d’Or is a competition segment of the film festival. Consequently, in the 72 years history of the Cannes Film Festival, this is the first time an African movie will be screening in this category. Reacting to this development, Diop said,
“It’s pretty late and it’s incredible that it is still relevant. My first feeling to be the first black female director was a little sadness that this only happened today in 2019. But if for some young black female film directors I can represent a new dynamic, I’m obviously extremely happy.”
Nigeria’s Uzo Aduba Plays First Black Female Congress Member In Upcoming FX Series
Uzo Aduba, the Nigerian-American sensational actress will play Shirley Chisholm in upcoming FX series, ‘Mrs. America’. Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to gain entry into the United States Congress. From 1969 to 1983, she represented New York’s 12th congressional district. However, this is not the only ‘first’ in her record. Breaking the news on her official Instagram page @uzoaduba she said,
“Telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Excited to share! Link in bio”
In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first black candidate to run for president of the United States under the Democratic platform. Joining Uzo Aduba in this epic series are Sarah Paulson, Rose Byrne, James Marsden, and Cate Blanchett.
A peek into Mrs. America
Mrs. America tells the story of how a group of conservative women fought for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Undoubtedly, this is one of history’s toughest cultural wars. Leading the war was Phyllis Schlafly, a role played by Oscar-winning actress, Blanchett. However, the culminating events changed the political landscape forever. It also led to the rise of the Moral Majority.
Dahvi Waller, the Emmy-winning producer will also be the executive producer of Mrs. America. Waller will share this role with Blanchett, Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, Coco Francini, and Stacey Sher. The directors of the first two episodes will be Boden and Fleck. The duo is famous for co-writing and directing Captain Marvel. Mrs. America will premiere as a nine-episode series. However, there is no release date for the series just yet.
Uzo Aduba’s career and awards
Uzo Aduba came to limelight in 2007 after starring in ‘Coram Boy’. She is currently the first actress to win an Emmy in drama and comedy. She won the 2014 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for her role in Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’. The following year she won the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. The other person to have won Emmy in comedy and drama is Ed Asner. However, these are not her only achievements.
Uzo Aduba has also won the SAG Award in 2015 and 2016 for Best Actress in Comedy. Three times, she has won the Best Ensemble in a Comedy (2015, 2016, and 2017). This is a rare opportunity to tell the story of past heroes to future generations.
Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman To Play Yasuke, The First Black Samurai
The popular opinion is that only Asians become samurai. Apparently, there were a few non-Asian samurais in history. However, the person that started it all was Yasuke, the first black samurai. The story of Yasuke has been a secret for a long time. However, that is about to change. Black Panther star, Chadwick Boseman, will play the role of Yasuke. According to a report on Deadline, Boseman said,
“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best-kept secrets. That’s not just an action movie… That’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.”
Perhaps, one of the best insights into the personality of Yasuke is through the book by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard. The book is titled “African Samurai: The True Story, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan”. According to the book, Yasuke was taken from his village. Subsequently, he was sent to India to work for the Portuguese. However, he came to Japan in 1579 working as the bodyguard of Alessandro Valignano, a powerful Portuguese Jesuit missionary.
Furthermore, to get favor from warlord Oda Nobunaga, Valignano offered Yasuke as “a weapon bearer and novelty” to Nobunaga. Impressed by Yasuke’s loyalty, Nobunaga gave him a prestigious samurai status. Consequently, as a samurai, he was revered by everyone around him. According to the biographers, “People in the streets did not only gape at him. They bowed, heads to the earth, as they addressed him.” However, there is a slightly different version of the biography according to Deadline.
“Yasuke was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. [Consequently] the first black man to set foot on Japanese soil, Yasuke’s arrival aroused the interest of Nobunaga, a ruthless warlord seeking to unite the fractured country under his banner. [However] a complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect—and ultimately, the honour, swords, and title of samurai.”
Yasuke is a 16th-century Japanese samurai. However, the talk about the STX film dates back to 2017. Stephen L’Heureux and Mike De Luca were co-producing a movie on Yasuke’s story at that time. According to Deadline, Doug Miro (‘Narcos’ co-creator) was in charge of the script writing.
However, this is not the first time Boseman will be starring in biographical movies. He featured in ‘Get On Up’ (as James Brown), ‘42’ (as Jackie Robinson), and ‘Marshall’ (as Thurgood Marshall). However, fingers are already pointing at Boseman’s next project, ’21 Bridges’. He will be playing a detective hunting down a pair of cop killers. The Black Panther star is already becoming a fan’s favourite.
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