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The new film Black Panther promises all the action, flash and excitement you’d expect from a superhero film, but for some McGill students, there’s much more to look forward to.
McGill’s Black Student Network is holding an advance screening of the latest Marvel film Thursday night, with hundreds attending.
The film features a predominantly black cast and has a black director.
“It shows that these stories should be told and told very well and not have that double standard of ‘Oh you did well for a black film.’ They’re just films that happen to have black people in it, you know?” said Andreann Asibey, president of the group.
It’s the kind of representation Asibey, who helped organize the event, rarely sees on the big screen.
“I’m excited because it’s not just black people, but dark-skinned black people, on a screen. I’m originally from Ghana, West Africa, so seeing an African country that hasn’t been touched by colonization,” she said.
It’s not just about how black people are depicted in the film, however.
For Fatou Ndiaye, it’s also about how Africa is portrayed through the fictional African nation Wakanda.
“I think it just allows black people to be dreamers in that respect and I think that’s not often shown. Especially in a universe like Marvel that has been dominated by people of one particular demographic,” said Ndiaye.
With a blockbuster budget, the film is widely expected to prove that black narratives can generate profits.
“Black Panther is on track to make $165 million this weekend, so we will be seeing more of that character, we’ll be seeing more of films that stretch the dimensions of what a big superhero movie can be,” said film critic Richard Crouse.
History professor Rachel Zellars is taking her daughters to see the film.
“They will see tonight a visual narrative that they have never seen before anywhere else in the world,” she said.
The film is already making history.
“We don’t have another moment in cinematic history where black people have been given and entrusted by a major studio this much creative control,” said Zellars.
There’s also a lot of buzz about the way black women are shown in the film as strong female leads – and warriors.
“I’m so excited to be able to say to my little cousins that are growing up right now, look, she looks like you, she’s beautiful and you’re beautiful,” said Ndiaye.
“It will have a great impact, I think, and will encourage people to tell more diverse stories,” added Asibey.
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