I saw a tweet last week where someone asked if we are wearing traditional attire to the airing of the Black Panther movie in SA cinemas. Another person replied, no. I was so shocked.
Before I get carried away in a rant, I want to briefly discuss why I think this movie is so important.
There are very few superhero movies that I have watched in my lifetime. The ones that come to mind are the Avengers and Batman. I don’t watch superhero movies often I like my superheroes to have a more human element to them, something that is attainable as an everyday citizen of the world. So I opted for movies like The Hunger Games instead. The Black Panther movie is about more than a hero saving the day.
Brazen embracing of blackness
I knew about the Black Panther comic and even the revolutionary socialist movement, but I knew of it in passing. I have watched enough black history documents to easily identify the Black Panther Party in that legendary all-black attire with those black berets, their iconic love for the people and their unapologetic affirmation of black beauty. My understanding of the comic, however, is little to none. All I knew was that it was the first black superhero in comic books.
It’s more than a movie, it’s a movement
The Black Panther superhero actually predated the Black Panther Party and the two shouldn’t be falsely correlated. Yes, I researched that, like I said my knowledge was little to none. This struck my curiosity so I watched the trailer of the movie. The image of the mountains of Wakanda with its tribe captivated me with its colour and the array of African print. The almost entirely black cast looked so strong, so powerful and I loved this narrative!
Some may argue that the astounding excitement and support for this movie is convenient and we only support black products when it suits us. I disagree. Any opportunity to educate and awaken the mind about protecting one’s own and unifying should be embraced.
Why it is important to dress up to watch the movie
Black Panther affirms black beauty in the most majestic way. It saddens me a little when you are dressed up in traditional attire on a normal day and people ask “Oh, where are you going dressed up so nice?”. Some will assume that you must be attending a traditional wedding or an African themed event. Tradition shouldn’t be a theme it should be normality.
It’s ironic how we can easily separate our Western clothing for our everyday lives to those we wear to weddings. But if we had to do the same with our African-traditional clothing the first question that pops up is: “what will I wear to a wedding then?”.
So I took it upon myself to find ways of wearing traditional attire in an everyday setting. I did this because whenever there is a celebration in a black community we dress up! And seeing as the Black Panther movie is a celebration of blackness we have to dress up for it.
Wearing all black to a movie that showcases such beautiful African print in its costume design seems insufficient. Colour must be present. So here are some ideas for you to draw inspiration from when you go and watch the movie.
I spent R99.99 on a single item which is repeated a few times. Don’t let this celebration delude you into thinking you need to spend money on a new outfit. Everything I put together was already was already in my closet.
So what will you be wearing?
Sidenote: I may have oversold the pictures a bit, I am not a fashion blogger and these pictures were all taken with a cellphone. I had a bit of fun with filters, shoot me! And please excuse the RBF! Here you go…