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Ryan Coogler on Black Identity: Black Panther at BAM
Photo Credit: Travis Matthews for Okayplayer

Ryan Coogler Talks Black Identity And The Powerful Women Of Wakanda

Ryan Coogler talks all things Wakanda and Oakland.

The Steinberg Screening at the BAM Harvey Theater hosted an early showing of the most anticipated film of 2018; Black Panther.

The Marvel Studios moviestarring Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, and Michael B. Jordan— follows protagonist T’Challa as he returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda to take his destined place as king, to protect the fate of his nation, and ultimately the entire world.

Wednesday night, the film’s director, Ryan Coogler sat down for an intimate Q&A moderated by Okayplayer’s very own, CEO Abiola Oke, where he delved into the connection and dissonance between the peoples of the black diaspora.

Coogler contextualized his experiences growing up in Oakland, California, and his time spent learning the traditions and customs of South Africa, comparing the cultural nuances of the two distant diaspora planes and invoking that connection on the big screen.

READ:Ryan Coogler Reveals He Originally Wanted this Villain to Appear in 'Black Panther'

When asked about the importance of his decision to center women in the film to tell the story of Wakanda, Coogler attributed his choice to the realities of black communities around the world functioning under the helm of women’s guidance.

“What you see in African communities— wome

n tend to hold it down" he said. "They tend to be the ones that help further the cause of the community. So, we wanted to highlight that.”

READ: ‘Black Panther’ Author Todd Steven Burroughs Says Movie Hoopla Is The “Superhero Equivalent Of ‘Roots’” [Interview]

Take a look at some shots from the night’s discussion: