Why Does”Black Panther” Matter?


Chadwick Boseman, left, and Michael B. Jordan lead a mostly-black cast.

A flurry of articles celebrate the release of the Black Panther.   Why?  What are the rhetorical explanations for its appeal? Audience awareness?  Visual rhetoric?

Among the reasons the articles cite are the following.  Can your students add others and explain how they relate to rhetoric?

  • Black Panther radiates a “near subzero-temperature sense of cool…T’Challa is accessible, awe-inspiring and perhaps most importantly, human.”
  • Black Panther is poised to break Hollywood box office records, dispelling the notion that block-busters cannot come from black cultural roots.  To do this, it draws on a wide, multi-racial fan base.
  • Black Panther provides a lasting visual role model to children of color.

Resources: “A Different Kind of Superhero’: Why ‘Black Panther’ Will Mean So Much to So Many,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/02/09/its-going-to-change-hollywood-why-black-panther-will-mean-so-much-to-so-many/?utm_term=.57cfb059ee2c

“‘Black Panther’ Poised to Shatter a Hollywood Myth,”  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/business/media/black-panther-hollywood-diversity.html

“Black Superheroes Matter: Why a ‘Black Panther’ Movie Is Revolutionary,” “https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/black-superheroes-matter-why-black-panther-is-revolutionary-w509105