“Black Panther” Director Ryan Coogler couldn’t make a film inspired by African cultures without visiting the continent first. He wanted Wakanda to reflect and respect real-life African traditions.
What he didn’t see coming was how wrong his Western view of Africa would prove to be!
During his trips to Kenya, Lesotho, and South Africa, he realized we have way more in common with our siblings on the Continent than we’ve been told. “I believed that [the connection was lost] until I … spent time with [local] people,” Coogler shared.
“A lot of the [rituals] they did amongst their tribe,” he explained, “are very similar to things [Black families] do back home.” Then his epiphanies turned to the topic of strong women.
On his depiction of Black women as spies, queens, geniuses, and warriors, Coogler simply said, “That’s African!”
When Coogler shared that some Black Americans won’t eat watermelon in public, an African woman said, “It’s the most important food out here ... [It can] give you all the hydration and nutrients out here in the sun … Why would you not wanna eat what’s so important to you and your culture?”
When he noticed similarities between his family and his host’s, the host told him: “[That’s] because you are African. You’re just doing what our people [have] been doing for thousands of years.”
Ready to book that flight to the homeland yet?