The reviews for Black Panther have all paid special attention to a specific group of warriors so far. The fierce women of Wakanda bring heroism, brilliance, and a sense of culture and class to the screen and it comes as no surprise to us. The actresses chosen to take on those roles are all just as brilliant and incredible in their own lives.
So when EW paid a spotlight to these women, fans grew even more excited for the film that’s just days away from its big premiere. With a stunning photoshoot and interview, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, and Danai Gurira prove once again that Black Panther can’t be missed.
EW: Wakanda is ahead of its time technologically, but it’s also ahead of its time in terms of equality. What is it about the culture of this fictional country that makes it such a place of resilient, brilliant women?
Angela: It’s a nation that respects and reveres women. They think of us not just as Queen but Queen Mother. Mother is nurturer and the first teacher. That position is embraced. She’s not someone who is off to the side. Every mature woman is your auntie or your mother.
Danai: And in contemporary African cultures, it’s exactly that. It doesn’t matter if she’s a literal mother or not, an older woman is considered with respect. If you go into a store and you’re greeting someone or calling out to someone you call them “amai” in my country. That’s something Wakanda brought to the forefront that was beautiful.
They went on to discuss what’s so powerful about Wakada and the way women were able to evolve there.
Letitia: Wakanda as a nation is so open to forward movement. It will, hopefully, inspire us in reality to go “Okay, cool, don’t limit the women to what they want to do. For example, Nakia is allowed to go out and be a spy and gather information for her nation, and she gets to choose whether she stays or goes. She’s not controlled by anyone. That’s powerful. She’s motivated by what’s in her soul and what she wants to do.
EW mentioned that Shuri is seen in the same way, as someone trusted to ensure the safety of her brother, thus the safety of Wakanda.
Letitia: Her brother doesn’t look down on her like, “Ugh, you’re a kid, you can’t make a suit for me.” He’s like, “No, this is your domain! Kill it! Do a great job and make sure I’m protected. And I will respect that.” Life for women in Wakanda is beautiful. It’s inspirational. It’s something I’m gonna take from watching this film in my own life and for the future of my children as well, when I have a family.
Lupita: It was such a breath of fresh air seeing men and women living in their power with out one dwarfing the other. To me, it was reflective of the fact that sexism is learned. To see a society where that’s not the focal point, where gender is not the fabric with which society is built and the delineations of sex are not oppressive, that’s really cool. And it’s possible.
You can watch their interview here and see the incredible women star in Black Panther on February 16th.