STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

More than a movie, 'Black Panther' is a movement

Black people have been striving to remind the world for years that Africa is a continent, not a country.A cont...

Posted: Feb 15, 2018 1:19 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 1:19 PM

Black people have been striving to remind the world for years that Africa is a continent, not a country.

A continent made up of nations rich with histories and achievements in fields from the arts to mathematics.

The film has galvanized fans

Star talks representation

But such representation has seldom been portrayed by Hollywood.

Then along came "Black Panther," which opens in theaters across the country on Friday.

Chadwick Boseman stars as T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, who returns to the fictitious African nation of Wakanda to take reign as king after his father was killed in "Captain America: Civil War."

The fearsome warrior superhero was first created as a Marvel comic book character by Stan Lee and his colleague Jack Kirby in the 1960s, a time when African Americans were battling for civil rights .

Boseman spoke with CNN about how the comic's progressive nature -- set in a technically advanced African nation during a time people of African descent were fighting for equality -- drew him to the project.

"Having studied at Howard [a historically black university in Washington D.C.] and having various different experiences within our culture, I knew it was an opportunity to pull from real things, real achievements, real African culture and place it in this movie to make it real." Boseman said. "If anybody believes that Africa didn't have an empire, didn't have architecture, didn't have art, didn't have science, you see it in this movie."

Related: 'Black Panther' pounces onto Marvel's top tier

Anticipation for the film has inspired think pieces and funny memes. A colorful spoken word piece has gone viral as "Black Panther" mania grows.

There's almost always excitement surrounding a Marvel film, but "Black Panther" is more than just a movie.

It's a movement.

Consider this: a film that explores what it means to be black, centered on a black superhero, featuring a mostly-black cast, and helmed by a black director is on pace to be one of Marvel's biggest blockbusters.

Related: 'Black Panther' is heading for a record-breaking box office weekend

Tickets have sold out around the country. Teachers are planning to take entire classes. Facebook gatherings have sprung up around screenings. Actress Olivia Spencer went public with her desire to buy out a movie theater in Mississippi to give fans, who otherwise not may not be able to afford it, a chance to see the film.

Related: Octavia Spencer plans on treating fans to see 'Black Panther'

On social media, eager moviegoers have shared what they plan on wearing to the cinema.

"Black Panther" co-star Michael B. Jordan told CNN the movie is "super important" and "impactful for our culture moving forward."

"It's humbling and very surreal that this is a major introduction, almost a reintroduction of black fantasy, sci-fi, mythology, for the generation growing up," Jordan said. "I can't wait for Halloween to see everyone dressing up as the Dora Milaje [the female special forces in the film], Black Panther and Killmonger [the super villain Jordan portrays]."

The hashtag "WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe" has been trending.

"It means that my kids and young black kids everywhere will see themselves as heroes capable of leading their own narratives," tweeted director Matthew A. Cherry

The issue of lack of representation of African Americans has long been one for Hollywood, even before #OscarsSoWhite shined a light on it.

And "Black Panther" offers a star-studded cast made up of African and African American actors.

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Nakia in the movie, told CNN it's "humbling" to think that she and co-star Danai Gurira will be the faces of Marvel dolls tied to the film -- and not just for children of color.

"We do know that those kinds of things shape one's subconscious values, and so now there will be dark-skinned dolls that kids from everywhere can play with," Myong'o said. "I played with white dolls all the time. I think that to have dark-skinned dolls in the hands of other races is just as important as having it in the hands of black kids themselves."

In the midst of his project potentially making history, director Ryan Cooler has a universal desire for "Black Panther."

"I just hope [fans] have a good time," he said. "Watching the film, I hope they have an exciting time, I hope they can get emotionally involved and engaged."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
Bolivar179565
Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
Alcorn77511
Itawamba77021
Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Oxford
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather