Fans have been excited about Black Panther for a while now. From the director search to the casting news, the first teaser that dropped, and of course when tickets went on sale, fans, -- in particular, African American fans -- have been emotionally invested in this film.
Blade notwithstanding, this is the first time an African comic book character from the big two comics publishers has had a standalone movie funded by a major studio. Add to that the technologically advanced country of Wakanda, with its multiple ethnic groups, traditions, ultra-strong Vibranium ore and God-like King, and we're talking worldbuilding on an epic scale. Right off the bat, the film has a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
So I was unsurprised when I saw that the hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeanstoMe was trending on Twitter today. I spoke with the hashtag's creator, Kayla Sutton, Marketing Director for Black Girl Nerds, and asked her about what prompted the hashtag.
"I came up with the hashtag yesterday evening after talking to my son," Sutton told SYFY WIRE. "We call him mini-blerd, because he is a mini me... He loves the comics and has really enjoyed Black Panther on Avengers Assemble. I wanted to know from his perspective what this movie means to him. And his reasons were so pure and meaningful to me that I wanted to see the response from the public. The fact that it is trending worldwide is emotional. This film means so much to people that have often felt like the 'other' in geek communities, and finally getting representation is a huge deal."
The movie is clearly having an emotional impact even before it drops next week and reading some of the responses even got me a little emotional. See for yourself:
Black Panther opens worldwide on February 16. And if you haven't purchased your tickets by now, chances are you're going to have to wait a while.