On Tuesday (Jan. 30), @Okayplayer attended the press junket for Marvel’s Black Panther where Chadwick Boseman showed why he is king.
The Black Panther effect still hasn’t subsided from the public’s consciousness. The men and women present at the press junket — some wearing African print and regalia — all cast long shadows now. They are illuminated by the light of the film. Not to get too sentimental, but Black Panther is a movie our generation has perhaps longed for but never expected to actually happen. And, up there on stage, you could see the pride and intention that the cast members brought to the film, many of them with their own African roots.
There was something Chadwick Boseman, who is playing King T’Challa, said that summed up the press run for us. When asked why it was important for T’Challa to speak in an African accent during the film, by Ari Adams of LovePeaceAndTinyFeet, he said:
“As actors… when you’re trained you are trained very often from a European perspective.But I went to Howard … and we were taught to respect our writers and our classics just as much. And believe it takes the same skill level and technique to pull that off.”
Scores of “HU!” cut through the hall.
That quote — that frame — is an important jumping off point for understanding Black Panther.
A film long in the making, Ryan Coogler, Kevin Feige and the rest of the team understood the power of tackling the movie from the black American perspective. And Feige was totally here for it. “You think of Marvel as the biggest studio in the world, but it’s really just Kevin [Feige] and his two friends,” Coogler said. “He’s all about making something that entertains people but leaves you with something to think about.”
That kind of small team enabled Coogler and crew to put forth a vision that steeped the Black Panther and Marvel in the nitty-gritty of today’s problems, without the film losing itself along the way.
Chadwick Boseman has a lot of stellar roles on his IMDB. But for Boseman, King T’Challa has the potential to become his central character in his cinematic arsenal, as much as the film has the potential to mean iconic status to generations of black folks. Now, basking in the afterglow of the premiere, Chadwick is a real-life king, just channeling royal badassery everywhere he goes.