I was selected by Disney to attended these events and experiences. This was an all-expenses-paid opportunity and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Going to see Black Panther and then immediately attending a press conference had me on a constant high. And my goodness, what a cool experience to not only SEE a movie you’ve been waiting for but them to instantly sit and listen to the actors and actresses from the movie. It was quite an honor and pleasure and allowed members of the media to really flesh out the intentions of the movie and how everyone involved felt about every aspect of…well, EVERYTHING.
And did I mention that I was in the third row? I was so incredibly close and just being able to be that close to actors and actresses that I’ve fangirl’d over for many years is quite the honor. And one that I will never forget.
While many things were said during this press conference, I want to highlight the mentions of Blackness, Afr0-inspiration and what this movie meant for the Black actors and actresses. This, is what I feel, most resonated with me. I also really enjoyed hearing their first impressions of the movie.
Nischelle Turner of Entertainment Today was such a fantastic moderator. I’m a big fan of hers now!
You gotta love that actors also get a wee bit nervous before seeing the world premiere of a film that they put their everything in for months at a time.
Michael B. Jordan on World Premiere Night.
Michael B. Jordan: Last night was the first time I saw the film. I called Ryan the night of and was like, ‘Man, I’m anxious; I’m nervous, man. I don’t know what to expect.” And he says, ‘Look, man, just look at it and try to be a fan. Just watch it.” And when I sat down with my family, you know, and this family and the audience, and I had that same type of reaction. It was like, “Man, this is what it feels like.” And seeing yourself on screen – not me personally, but people who looked like you – you know, empowered, and having those socially relevant themes, but in a movie that you want to sit down and watch, and you can enjoy, that Marvel does so well. I think it was a really good balance, and everybody won; everybody did amazing, amazing jobs in performances.”
(Image Courtesy: Walt Disney World Studios)
Angela Bassett on seeing strong Black women on the screen
I am a HUGE Angela Bassett fan. I’ve been this way since I was a child so any time she opens her mouth, I’m paying attention. I love how she was able to play such a large role in this movie and that she too recognizes how needed it is for little Black girls AND boys to see themselves on the screen.
Angela Bassett: I think in this story, it highlights the queen, the warrior, the general – the young sister. I was so proud to have my daughter, and my son there last night, because in their faces, and in their spirit – and they were feeling themselves. And they stood taller after last night.
Danai Gurira: Yeah, when Ryan sat me down and talked to me about his vision, and the story, and the characters, and the women, I was just floored, you know, because you don’t actually get to hear that often. And then it embodied with us being on the continent, women from the continent, but very developed, very complex. It was amazing.” This pride around it, and this sort of embracing of this – this sort of symbol of power in these women.
On if bringing Wakanda to life went as well as everyone thought
I didn’t grow up reading the Black Panther comic books but Esposo did. I know the Black Panther team had a huge tasks in making sure they blew Wakanda out of the water. It had to look like how all of the kids who grew up reading the comic books imagined it would look.
Michael B. Jordan: Yeah, I think so. I mean I gave them a chance to look at some of the concept art pretty earlier on and, you know, the photos and the graphic art and what not. You know it was, nothing could have prepared us for what we saw. We got a little glimpse of it, but to actually see it on screen fully rendered and the completed project…it was incredible and mind-blowing and was really cool to look at.
Danai Gurira: I think what was really fascinating and like almost very emotional for me being that I’m Zimbabwean and being that, you know, that’s something that you always kind of want, you see the power and the potential of where you’re from, but you see how skewed it’s viewed by the world and how misrepresented it is and how distorted it is or received by the world so often. So to see, this is kind of the answer to all my – it’s kind of a salve to those wounds to see this world brought to life this way and to see all the potential and power of all of the different African culturalisms and aspects of our being that was celebrated and it’s so different. It’s a birth of things that we’ve been seeing forever around the continent that we see when we’re there. We see beauty, we see power, we see potential, we see ability, we see resources, but they are never exhibited and then to put it on sort of a Marvel epic scale of exhibition…it really salves wounds in a really deep way.
(Image Courtesy: Walt Disney World Studios)
On how the white actors felt about the “All Black/African everything”
This question was asked by one of my favorite outlets (yay for Black Girl Nerds) and it’s a question that I’m sure many of us thought!
Andy Serkis: Actually we were just talking about that earlier on and it was very funny ‘cause you reminded me of a story of Ryan saying to us before we were about to do our scene. Ryan came up to us and said, “You know, I’ve never actually directed two white actors before.” It was hilarious but at the same time it was just like…”That’s tragic.” It was just an incredible experience, you know, and to be part of it was and I just think this film is so important and to be able to be part of something that is so groundbreaking and yes, it should have been made many years ago. But now is the time and now is a brilliant time because things are changing rapidly in every single aspect of filmmaking and so it should and the needle should swing right the other way because we need to really change things.
The decision on having characters speak with an “African” accent
The word African is in quotes because as we all know, the continent of African is vast and there are hundreds of thousands of accents and dialects. I loved how Chadwick gave us some insight on why he felt it was so important to make sure dialects that aren’t as “popular” should be shown on the big screen.
Chadwick Boseman: What is considered great or classical is very often British. I happen to come from a background that does not believe that. I went to Oxford to study, but I went to Howard and we were taught to respect our writers and our classics just as much and believe that it takes the same skill level and same technique and sometimes techniques that are a little bit different to pull that off. The intonations and melodies inside an African accent are just as classical as a British one or a European one and that all of the emotions and aspects of a character can be shown and expressions can be shown through that accent.
On how women can actually…work together
Because let’s face it, this isn’t a narrative that we often see on TV and in movies. Lupita so beautifully explains how Black Panther managed to make this work so nicely.
Lupita Lyong’o: What I love about the way this film represents women is that each and every one of us is an individual and we all have our own sense of power and our own agency and we hold our own space without being pitted against each other. I think that’s a very, very powerful message to send to children, both male and female. I think often times in movies we fall into that trap where women, there’s very few of us and then we are against each other. There’s a competitive spirit and stuff like that and this film freezes all that. We see women going about their business and supporting each other, even arguing with each other and having different points of view, but still not being against each other. I think that’s extremely important and in so doing this film, there’s so many of us, we really get a sense of the fabric of Wakanda as a nation and we see women alongside men and we see how much more effective a society can be if they allow women to explore their full potential, yeah.
Are you blown away yet? I’m still trying to pick myself up off of the ground. I am so grateful for this film!
Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER lands in theaters on February 16th!
My #BlackPantherEvent Coverage
- Announcing My Trip
- The World Premiere + Purple Carpet Coverage
- Black Panther Film Review
- Lupita Nyong’o & Danai Gurira Interview
- Forest Whitaker Interview
- Daniel Kaluuya & Letitia Wright Interview
- Andy Serkis & Winston Duke Interview
FTC Disclosure: My travel, accommodations and experiences were sponsored by Disney. All thoughts and opinions are my own.