The Black Panther character is more than the namesake of a movie that’s breaking the box office. He’s a culture. Marvel Comics has introduced the world to a diverse roster of superheroes since its launch in 1939, but the most notable has got to be Black Panther, who made his first appearance in Fantastic Four, Vol. 1, No. 52, in 1966. Then, in 2016, we got to see Chadwick Boseman embody the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, and we were hooked!
This character completely changed the game. Black Panther quickly became a fan favorite. There was something undeniably awesome about being able to experience a regal, African king with a superhero alter ego, which is why we’re now able to say hello to this epic, big-budget, star-studded instant classic.
(Full disclosure: The Root was invited by Disney, and provided with hotel and flight, to check out the film and meet the cast [OMG Michael B. Jordan] for interviews. I may or may not have swooned my way through each one. *sigh* Wakanda forever, for real.)
I got to meet the cast, with the exception of Michael B. Jordan—I’m still trying to get over that. But I did manage to snag a photo with him as I was getting ready for interviews, in my head scarf—peak blackness.
When I sat down with the cast (thank you for the invite Disney!), I asked them about their experiences with superheroes growing up and how the Black Panther has changed the way they look at heroes. The result is the video above, with Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Ryan Coogler and Winston Duke explaining why black heroes matter. Check it out!