It has arrived. Officially. Black Panther premiered last night and all my dreams for what I hoped the premiere of Black Panther would look like came true. LOOK AT ALL OF THIS BLACK EXCELLENCE. I actually don’t think I ever dreamed this big – that a film about an African nation, with an all-black cast and helmed by a black director would get this much of a celebration. I never dared to believe something like this could happen in an industry that still portrays the continent of Africa and its people so poorly or that it could happen in a country led by a racist imbecile who thinks African nations are sh-tholes.
LOOK AT ALL OF THIS BLACK EXCELLENCE.
We are going to spread out our coverage of the premiere over multiple posts because this was a momentous, glorious occasion and we will respect it as such. First, let’s start with the man responsible for bringing Wakanda to life. That man is Ryan Coogler. He was nervous. I’ve seen a few interviews he gave on the carpet and in every one, he says the words “nerve wracking.” Based on early reviews, Ryan Coogler has nothing to be nervous about. Not only did almost all of black Hollywood show up for Coogler’s film, anyone who has seen it has called it Marvel’s masterpiece. I found out yesterday I get to go to a screening on Thursday (THURSDAY!!!) and I started having heart palpitations and sweating profusely – but like good heart palpitations and good sweating. I think I even tried to hug Lainey. It’s a blur. I AM SO EXCITED.
We can’t talk about this premiere without talking about the fashion. We’ll have more of that later but after scrolling through about four photos of the premiere, I had to take a moment, breathe in and collect myself. And not just because I found my man, Michael Bae Jordan. Everyone stepped up. This was the blackest premiere I have ever seen. It was an unapologetic celebration of blackness – specifically of African blackness. Coogler accessorized his black suit with a printed scarf. MBaeJ opted for gold lapel pins and embellishments on his shoes. David Oyelowo brought tears to my eyes wearing a traditional African dashiki ensemble. I remember being embarrassed in elementary school when my mom sent me and my brother to “Culture Day” in Ghanaian kente cloth and kids made fun of us. I didn’t see those fabrics in the magazines I read or the TV I watched. It wasn’t “cool.” Look at David and his wife Jessica and tell me they don’t look COOL AS F-CK. You can’t. From David’s look to Daniel Kaluuya’s white linen suit, the African influences were deliberately on display. The style at this premiere is stunning but it was also a statement. The statement being that THIS is fashion too. Why can’t a Hollywood premiere look like this? I love that the men were on board. God, this press tour is going to be spectacular and a reminder, with every red carpet, that fashion is not just one thing and that African prints and styles can be just as cool as anything else – obviously. I hate that this needs to be said but it does.
I AM OBSESSED. And I’m crying again. These tears are not the regular, ‘oh Kathleen is crying again’ tears. This is really f-cking special. Wakanda is HERE. All of these beautiful and talented black people are the heroes, the villains, the directors, the producers and the architects of a massive Marvel film.
Watch the cast of Black Panther get introduced at the premiere by Ryan Coogler (at the 4:57 mark of the video below) and try to tell me you’re not emotional too.