Film Review: Black Panther
Marvel Studio’s highly anticipated Black Panther hit theatres this past weekend. Many theatres were sold out across the country for the movie’s release during Black History Month. While this film was an adaptation of the brand’s 1966 comic series shortly after the creation of the Black Panther Party, the new production addressed many present-day cultural dialogues.
Though the main character, the Black Panther/”T’Challa” played by Chadwick Boseman, is male, the film depicted high tones of black female intelligence, determination and power. Lupita Nyongo (“Nakia”), Danai Gurira (“Okoye”) and Letitia Wright (“Shuri”) reigned in Wakanda and, through their stellar performances, as illustrious black women in cinema. In superhero films, women are typically cast as the aide, the sex symbol or not at all – and black women are shown in these films at an even lower rate. Black Panther provided fresh and necessary perspective to the film landscape, proving that black women can exist outside of the mold previously set for them. This portrayal should empower women and children of color across the world by representing the simple fact that black women are powerful.
After the viewing, I began to think about spaces in my life where black women are underrepresented. As one of the legacy agencies, McCann’s reputation is often associated with the Mad Men image of the “Madison Avenue agency.” In the days since that show aired, the agency has worked hard to combat the negative stereotypes of our industry by producing great work, highlighting our amazing employees and promoting an inclusive work environment. But there is still much progress to be made to ensure our work represents the markets we advertise to.
There is space for people of color in advertising, as many brands are looking for ways to connect with their consumers on a cultural level. No matter the product or region, people of color can be found contributing to culture and creating a lasting impact. We, like many other industries, must aggressively seek to attract more African American talent so that more people of color are in the rooms where the magic is happening.
Marvel’s Black Panther shines a light on cultural acceptance, value and pride. The impact of the film will be felt for years to come, as it made roughly $427 million worldwide and shattered box office records. I was happy to see that our parent company IPG also recognizes the significance of this film, and is hosting a private screening and panel discussion for our employees later this month in honor of Black History Month. As McCann continues to play a meaningful role in people’s lives in 2018, let’s challenge ourselves to think intentionally about the people we underserve.