Show Your Work: The Work of Wakanda

Lainey Posted by Lainey at February 19, 2018 18:21:23 February 19, 2018 18:21:23

Black Panther is the biggest story in Hollywood coming out of the weekend. The numbers have already gone up from when I logged on this morning. We’ve now gone from $218 million domestically over the 4 day long weekend to an estimated $235 million, adjusted a couple of hours ago. So of course we’re talking about Black Panther this week on Show Your Work. And joining us for the discussion is our first ever guest on the podcast, Kathleen Newman-Bremang. 

Black Panther, of course, is Ryan Coogler’s vision. But Ryan Coogler also assembled a team – of women and people of colour, doing great work in bringing that vision to life. The entire Black Panther production team is a defiant rejection of that long-held Hollywood belief – and excuse – that qualified people of colour and women can’t be found to take on certain positions. And because of the success of Black Panther, more of opportunities can hopefully be created for a new class of creative talent who will be bringing their best practices and techniques to the set. 

One of those people is costume designer Ruth E Carter. Already there’s anticipation that Ruth could get an Oscar nomination next year for her work on the film. The Cut interviewed Ruth recently about the research and the thought that went into dressing the characters and the setting the clothing style in the movie to the story. Why did Danai Gurira’s Okoye wear gold neckrings while the other Dora Milaje wore silver? What was the design inspiration behind Queen Ramonda’s (Angela Bassett) headpieces? 

What Ruth and her colleagues have done is made Black Panther a fashion statement. I’m obsessed with everything Shuri wore in the movie. I love Killmonger’s cape when he sits on the throne. Holy sh-t, T’Challa’s suit, with the scarf over one shoulder, at the end when he speaks at the UN.  

What’s cool, however, is also copied. And this is where we go next: how can we who are not of African heritage, who are not black, participate in this Black Panther moment and movement without claiming it and appropriating it? We’ve received many emails asking this very question and this is the discussion Kathleen, Duana, and I attempt to unpack. Here’s the Bustle article that Kathleen refers to, with insight from Ruth E Carter herself on how to “appreciate the characters without culturally appropriating them”. 

From there we move on to Glen Mazzara’s interview with Variety on “creating real change in the TV industry”. Glen is the former showrunner for The Walking Dead. But he was also, in a previous career, a hospital administrator. This, then, is a great article about management and leadership, not just in Hollywood but in all industries, at all levels, in every department with so much real-world application. 

And finally, have you ever gone to work sick? We all have right? Have you ever gone to work when work was being the lead anchor during the Olympics with …double pink eye? I almost forgot that that happened to Bob Costas four years ago. But we are now midway through the Olympics and Vulture has given us the oral history of the time Bob Costas had double pink eye at the Olympics and, well, this article has everything – as Vulture says, a work story “to be remembered and celebrated”.  

Catch us weekly on iTunes, Google Play, and now Spotify, and hit us up on twitter at @laineygossip and @duanaelise to share your thoughts.

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