Black Panther was a movie we saw bound to be set for a fashion movement. The Marvel film is one of kind filled with all black leads, which features the fashion icon Lupita Nyong’o, but the film itself takes a ton of inspiration from a full list of African groups. The list includes Maasai, Toureg, Akan, Mursi and Ndebele.
“We knew Black Panther wasn’t going to be just any other movie,” Mohammed-Hanif Abdulai of Ghana told Racked via email. “It was a movie about representation, culture, and diversity; a movie that had a message. In that spirit, we decided we were not going to treat this as just any other movie premiere.”
Abdulai has a company called Wildrness Productions which produces film reviews called Couch Critics. Their Twitter feed was filled with what Ghanaians wore to see Black Panther. Abdulai exlained:
“We asked our fans to come dressed in their best regal attires and they didn’t disappoint, showing up in their fine kente, batakari, dashikis, wax prints, ahenema adorned with rich jewelry, and beautiful drumming and dancing. We proudly turned the lobby of the cinema into a beautiful cultural fest. Ghanaians showed the world how proud they were of their culture.”
Black Panther wasn’t just a stable for African fashion, but it also allowed many people of African descent to show off their heritage without being criticized. Take Paris-born New Yorker Esther-Lauren Mutolo, a stylist, for example: instead of wearing a pro-black statement shirt, she went with an outstanding African print. She commented on how she felt about the piece:
“When I came across this jumpsuit in a local boutique, I immediately fell in love. This jumpsuit reminds me of everything I was told not to be in life as a black woman. It is loud, obnoxious, eye-catching, and colorful. It represents my personality in its truest form. For years, I was told to be quiet and fit in with society’s definition of what a woman of color should be. When I wore that jumpsuit, I felt like I was defying every expectation set upon me by society. I felt beautiful and black.”
“This is more than just a movie for us,” Mutolo says. “This is about being acknowledged for something that is not directly tied to slavery or some sort of white suppression. Black Panther is about black people getting a chance to be themselves… Black Panther gave blacks a chance to let loose and wear their most obnoxious, vibrant outfit without being judged.”