I rarely ever entertain the thought of watching popular or highly commercialized movies at the cinema unless of course a friend coaxes me into joining them. However, I decided to take myself out to go watch the much talked about Black Panther. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was my first time hearing of the fictional Marvel character plus I wasn’t really feeling all the hype around it. I can confidently report back that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie especially the representation of women.
You know the saying “behind every strong man is a strong woman”, well in the case of the Black Panther it’s more like behind this strong man are strong women. The Dora Milaje, led by Commander Okoye, are a fierce group of women warriors who are loyal to the Wakanda throne and will literally die protecting the land. I loved everything about these women. I love how they chose to clothe them in attire that flattered their form without diminishing their power; I love their natural beauty; I love the unity and commitment of the warriors to Wakanda; and above everything I love that Commander Okoye’s true strength is her ability to love and be loved.
The other powerful and beautiful women in T’Challa’s (Black Panther for those of you who haven’t watched it) life are his mother the Queen Mother, his sister Shuri and his ex-lover Nakia. The Queen Mother’s strength stems from her ability to respect the traditions of Wakanda and still be revered as the queen even after her husband’s death, who was the king. Shuri is the right blend of humour, wits and brains; plus she invents really cool technological gadgets and weapons for T’Challa so more reason to love her. And lastly Nakia, who in the beginning appears to be the epitome of a powerful but stubborn woman who’s on the borderline of being hard to love. Yet as the love story about her and T’Challa unfolds, one begins to realize the soft edges to her character and see her for who she really is, a woman simply driven by her purpose.
The true gift of the Black Panther is how each woman has a purpose, their embodiment of it and how it also serves to unite them against a common cause. Each woman is portrayed in their 3-D form, each with their own complexities but always centred and expanding in their purpose. Each of them understood the importance of knowing when to lead and when to be led. One might criticize and say that’s the way of a patriarchal society however matriarchal societies adopt a similar order to leadership.
Without offending any feminists who may disagree, I just believe that sometimes the often simple and beautiful nature of male and female relationships can be misconstrued on the bases of distorted feelings. I feel Black Panther, in its patriarchal society, actually celebrates the importance and necessity of the women in Wakanda. In fact most of the men relied on women to protect and guide them thus highlighting the role women play in society.
If there’s anything I took away from this movie as a woman is that purpose-driven women aren’t afraid to live purposefully but are equally unafraid of loving and being loved.
Love and Happiness,