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by Alyse Akins

Marvel’s movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been the most anticipated movie of the year. As it is a sequel to the original movie Black panther, it was a long waited paragon by fans. It is based of a country called in Africa called Wakanda, representing Africa to its fullest glory. In some ways it's the Afrofuturist imagination of what Africa could be with its technologically advanced society. The main lead Chadwick Boseman who played prince T’ Challa died in year 2020 making this more than just a movie, but a tribute to his life. Fans wore all white and their African tribal colors for the commemorance and memorable event. The performances were very emotional and authentic bringing on a powerful atmosphere portraying black culture and black excellence.

One of the biggest questions asked leading up to the movie was “Who is going to be the next Black Panther of Wakanda?” His sister, Princess Shuri didn’t really take on as the leader of Wakanda but she did end up becoming black panther to protect her home. Although this movie was a testimony to Chadwick Boseman, it wasn’t centered around his death. We are introduced to Namor, who is the ruler of the nation, Talokan. Similar to Wakanda, Talokan stayed hidden and out of sight from the rest of the planet, using vibranium to advance themselves and their home. In the first movie prince T’ Challa makes vibranium known to the outside world to create peace and share their technology to advance the worlds safety, angering the Talokans and creating a huge clash between the two nations. The conflict grows throughout the movie with both nations attacking until Ramonda (black panther’s mom) dies, then there is a full size war. In the end Princess Shuri and Namor agree on a common ground and stop fighting, ending the movie in a trainquil, but menacing spirit because although the war between Wakana and Talokan ended, the war with the foreignors hasn’t. As the movie comes to an end we are aquainted by Prince T’Challa and Nakia’s son, Toussaint (T’Challa in Hatian). This preps the audince to exspect a third movie as it tells his story. As a whole, this movie was a masterpeice and a one of a kind. From the music to costumes to the cast, Marvel did an amzing job honoring Chadwick’s death while still having an exceptional movie.

Wakanda Forever!

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by Kyndal Gladney

When the first Black Panther movie came out it was a cultural reset. Seeing a Black superhero introduced into such a major cinematic universe meant a great deal to many people in the Black Community. With the release of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I would like to take some time to talk about the culture depicted in the movie. The Black Panther Franchise is an expression of Afrofuturism and Mesoamerican culture. Afrofuturism is an idea that combines African mythology with technology and science fiction to rebuke conventional depictions of black oppression and create a future where Black people are in power. The practice is often linked to “Sankofa,” an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana that roughly translates to “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left.” The idea that African knowledge and contributions to science and culture have been erased and must be recovered is central to Afrofuturism. The term, which originated in 1994, describes a cultural movement that pulls elements from science fiction, magical realism, and African history.

The first Black Panther celebrated a variety of African cultures. The film showed these cultures in a beautiful and sophisticated way. The costume designer and production designer for Black Panther, Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler, took time to research traditional culture and clothing which they drew from across various parts of the continent. Carter told The Atlantic that she was inspired by the wool collection of South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo’s Maxhosa range, the tailoring of Ghanaian-British designer Ozwald Boateng and the silhouettes and prints of US-based Nigerian couturier Duro Olowu. In the first movie a tribe of warriors disguised as farmers protected the borders of Wakanda. Their most distinctive feature is their cloak. These cloaks are the traditional gear of Basotho people. The gold rings worn around the necks of the Dora Milaje come from the Ndebele tribe of South Africa. Known as indzila, only married Ndebele women may wear the rings, even though they have become something of a fashion trend in South Africa. Angela Basset as Queen Mother Ramonda makes an entrance with a large disc head dress. In most of her scenes she wears a smaller version of the hat, which Carter borrowed from Zulu culture. Carter took inspiration from many other cultures, but these are just to name a few.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also introduced another culture on the big screen through the new antagonists of the story, Namor and the Talokans. The film celebrates a society that scholarship has long been noted for its achievements in architecture, mathematics, astronomy, and language. Originally in the comics, Namor and Atlantis take their cue from Greek mythology.

Wakanda Forever draws on a different source of inspiration: Mesoamerica. Mesoamerican Indigenous groups include the Maya, the Olmec, the Aztecs (or Mexica), and the Toltec. Mesoamerica is a historic region that spans modern-day Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Talokan most likely got its name from Tlālōcān, an Aztec paradise overseen by the rain god Tlāloc. Carter, the costume designer, told Men’s Health that “...they painted to depict figures in headdresses and all kinds of clothing that I used to inspire the clothing of the Talokan.” Carter and her colleagues added jade, kelp, and other aquatic elements to the headdresses to channel underwater creatures like lionfish and sharks. There was so much effort put into researching these and that can be seen when watching the movie. The costumes and overall production were fantastic. I hope to see projects like this continue in the future.

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by Kristin Blake

*Contains spoilers for season one, no season two spoilers

Dearest reader,

Alas, season two of Bridgerton has been released on Netflix, and I have watched it and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I dare say, I enjoyed season two better than season one.

For those of you unaware, Bridgerton is a Netflix original drama set in London’s Regency era. However, the drama has a twist with classical renditions of modern music and is not historically accurate. One example of this is racially inclusive nobility as the show is set in a different timeline than our own.

While season one dealt mainly with Daphne Bridgerton finding her love with the Duke of Hastings, season two follows the oldest Bridgeton sibling, Anthony, as he finally decides that he will find a bride this season. His choice of the season is miss Edwina Sharma, but his advances are interrupted by her sister, miss Kate Sharma’s disapproval.

First and foremost, I quite enjoyed how season two of the show was much more emotionally intimate than physically intimate. With the exception of two scenes towards the end of the series, most of the intimacy between characters comes in the form of lingering glances and almost kisses. I also enjoyed how they incorporated pieces of Indian and Desi cultures into Edwina and Kate’s lives. They are from India, and they could’ve easily ignored that piece of their culture.

I also liked that season two explored more storylines than season one. We follow Lady Whistledown’s endeavors, Eleanor’s debut, the Featherington’s coping with their father’s loss, and the Sharma arrival back to London along with Anthony’s storyline. Following this many stories could have a tendency to be confusing, but Bridgerton did not have this problem. Lastly, every character in this season had beautiful character development throughout the season. They are faced with difficult choices and forced to confront their greatest fears and insecurities.

One of my few dislikes of the show is that some of the storylines seemed incomplete or rushed towards the end. They had very convenient endings which could be seen as a bit unrealistic.

If you choose to watch Bridgerton, be aware that the show does contain inappropriate themes, but if you enjoy period dramas, this is a good show for you.

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