Straight Outta Africa: culture & Black panther

Oregon 2016

I can’t exactly pin point what year “African culture” started being popular around the world but it’s been an amazing phenomenon to watch. Artists on the continent such as Wizkid and Diamond are collaborating with American artists such as Drake and Ne-yo. I think a lot of us Africans never thought we’d see this happen. We all know that Africa is where humanity originated and in essence, we might all be Africans but the true understanding of Africa is usually lacking in the rest of the world. I can’t point fingers though because what the media portrays (poverty, sickness, and hunger) clouds the true image of Africa (which I can’t even define myself as you just have to see it for yourself).

After watching Black Panther, I am so proud to have some positive representation of Africa on screen. Obviously Wakanda, where the story is set, is a fictional place but the culture was based on true bits and pieces of Africa. For example, the blue blankets that some of the characters wore are actually from Lesotho which is a landlocked country in South Africa. Also, the language spoken (which I could understand a bit due to my time spent in South Africa) is Xhosa. Furthermore, the female warriors are actually based on a real female army in Western Africa. Simply stated Black Panther has made a lot of us proud to be of African descent and that is a really big deal.

Even before Black Panther though, people in the U.S. had started to wear dashikis and African printed prom gowns (the 90s were also notably into African culture with baby names and African braiding being popular). Like I said before, I am not sure when this African trend restarted in the 2000s. However, I can confidently say that Black Panther is the climax of this trend. I can’t wait to see what cross-cultural transfer has in store for us next.

Disclaimer: not all African cultures were depicted in Black Panther so don’t use the film as a way to generalize Africans. We all look different, dress different, eat different etc.


2 thoughts on “Straight Outta Africa: culture & Black panther

  1. I like how people are becoming more aware of African Culture but I also hope they don’t see “African culture” as monolithic because it’s very diverse. Also, from twitter, I realize some kids are beginning to think that Africa looks like Wakanda. Lmao.


    1. This is true. People are taking Black Panther literally instead of trying to learn the true culture that inspired it. Like for example we have uranium not vibranium. We have african purple violets not “heart shaped herbs” lol. I just wish everyone could get a chance to go to Africa and experience it first hand. Thanks for your comment 😀


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