The world was shocked on Friday night to learn that Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, 42, and Da 5 Bloods, passed away due to a four-year battle with colon cancer.
Boseman was a real-life superhero, a real-life Black Panther, using his time the past four years to give representation to the Black community and even care for terminally ill children dealing with a similar illness as himself.
The craziest thing is that no one knew Boseman was sick (save for his close ones of course). And since 2016 he delivered some of the most memorable roles of any actors in our lifetimes. And he approached people with kindness.
That last part is of the utmost importance. Remember when Chadwick was seen out in public several times looking rather gaunt? People clowned him, ridiculed him. And for what? A couple more likes on a tweet?
He played James Brown in Get On Up, Jackie Robinson in 42, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. Paving the way for the youth to learn more about incredibly influential historical figures seemed like Boseman’s calling. But it took a lot for him to get to that place.
“I had agents that would give me things that are more stereotypical, roles that I should take. Because I said no at certain times… it made me available for the things that got me to where I am. For me it’s always been like first, ‘who are you?’ I have to know who I am first before I know how to navigate this thing.”
Wiser words have hardly ever been spoken. Stay true to yourself. Lead with love and compassion. We miss you Chadwick but we will not forget you. The impact you left on countless individuals will not go unnoticed as the years go on.
Chadwick Boseman truly was the best of us. May his light guide us forward in these trying times. And may he rest in power.
Just a few months ago, Marvel announced the next incarnation of their New Warriors series.
Originally made in the 1990s, the team of superheroes known as the New Warriors were meant to appeal to the modern generation and embody current social trends and ideals.
Now 30 years later, a new generation of heroes is about to step up. Unfortunately, the reveal of Marvel’s “new” New Warriors has produced less than stellar results.
In fact, comic book and superhero enthusiasts throughout the Internet have banded together for a variety of reasons to do one thing: roast these new heroes meant to be diverse and appeal to the current generation.
Let’s take a look at these new New Warriors, the criticisms thrown at them, and why many forms of media seem to struggle with diversity.
Introducing a new generation of superheroes
In a similar vein to some other superhero storylines, the upcoming New Warriors series focuses on a young group of heroes who must deal with the responsibilities of becoming true superheroes.
Marvel has used this for much of their recent projects such as their movies Spiderman: Homecoming, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, and its Marvel Rising animated series.
One of the “New Warriors” main plot points will deal with the passage of what’s known as “Kamala’s Law,” which originates from Marvel’s “Outlawed” comic book. The law prohibits any superpowered individuals under the age of 21 to do any vigilante work unless they have a government-assigned mentor.
That’s where the New Warriors come in, at least the previous generation. The heroes that comprised the team from the 90s including characters such as Firestar, Rage, Night Thrasher, Speedball, Silhouette, and Namorita, are now presiding as mentor figures over the next incarnation of the New Warriors.
This new cast of heroes includes Trailblazer, a former foster kid with a magical backpack from an alternate dimension that can summon a variety of items;
Screentime, whose brain is wired into the internet after being exposed to his grandfather’s internet gas;
Snowflake, who can create icy shurikens, and also happens to be one of Marvel’s few nonbinary characters;
Their twin Safespace, who can create forcefields that can protect others but not himself;
And finally, B-Negative, who received an unusual blood transfusion from the vampire Michael Morbius, giving him vampiric powers in turn.
Yet this new generation of heroes has also caused an immense amount of criticism to be directed at Marvel, as well as writer and artist of this series, Brian Kibblesmith and Luciano Vecchio, respectively.
Reminds me of when comics really wanted to be woke. Marvel had the worse end of that stick and only realised this was a bad idea after they dropped “NEW” New warriors and a little from TikToker X kids. I feel like this all started with Kamala and Miles, but I’m not too sure. pic.twitter.com/7tIj39bLJC
Many individuals across the internet have made their distaste for this new New Warriors series widely known.
People have claimed it lacks originality and inspired character designs, panders to SJWs or “social justice warriors,” and isn’t truly diverse or representative of marginalized individuals. Let’s break down these claims and delve into the meaning and reasoning behind these criticisms, as well as what the creative crew behind the series has given to the audience.
One of the foremost criticisms surrounding the series is in regards to the character designs, as well as what the audience knows so far of the main casts’ backstories. Let’s tackle each of the new characters and analyze these points.
The superpowered twins Snowflake and Safespace have generally received the brunt of fans’ criticism.
I have created a version 2 of my Snowflake and SafeSpace Redesign! “Hail and Haven” with an adjusted look (and slight color variant between the two images on Hail) pic.twitter.com/Y4yPLl2gDO
“Snowflake and Safespace are the twins,” said Kibblesmith, “and their names are very similar to Screentime; it’s this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don’t see as derogatory. [They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor.”
While the intent of this idea is noble, it’s arguably its execution that’s flawed. The idea of repurposing these mocking terms is noble, but many people have criticized their names as being tacky or unable to be taken seriously.
As for their designs, Kibblesmith mentions that “the idea was that they would mirror and complement each other.”
Their designs appear to do almost exactly that in terms of color, appearance, and even general silhouette. Just because they’re twins, however, doesn’t mean they need to be carbon copies of one another.
Perhaps a better idea to repurpose these terms would be to not use them verbatim, but instead, alter them into an empowering form to make them into new monikers that can truly be a superhero name.
Many people have also criticized Screentime’s superhero alias as well. “The word ’screen time’ is only ever used in a sort of restrictive sense, and because we’re doing a story about teenage rebels, a lot of the names are about teens fighting against labels that are put on them. So with Screentime, we liked the idea that he has infinite screen time,” said “New Warriors” writer Daniel Kibblesmith.
Similar to the idea behind Snowflake and Safespace’s names, Kibblesmith also applied a similar concept to Screentime. Despite the motivation behind his name though, it seems the execution and what Kibblesmith thought the expectations the audience would react are what’s flawed here.
Realistically, it seems unlikely someone would want to reclaim that term as a screen name, much less a superhero one. Many fans have also directed critiques at Trailblazer’s seemingly-weak role due to having her abilities solely being the product of a backpack.
The character of B-Negative has also been criticized as a stereotypical goth and a carbon copy of Marvel’s living vampire character Michael Morbius. Even Kibblesmith refers to B-Negative as “the goth kid” in Marvel’s trailer announcing the upcoming “New Warriors” comic series.
Within this wide web of fan criticism however, many of them have taken to going beyond just offering their two cents and have even created re-designs of the characters. Snowflake and Safespace have been among the most popular re-designs since they have generally received the most criticism out of the other characters.
Some people have done complete redesigns of the whole team, including new art and even backstories for them.
The difficulty of diversity in comics and media
The New Warriors have always been an embodiment of the current generation and the trends at the time, and this new incarnation of them is no different.
“We wanted to have big colorful characters, personality clashes, romance, a diverse cast, which is something that the New Warriors titles have always strived to make a priority,” said Kibblesmith. “Every New Warriors comic has always felt like a reflection of the year that it came out. And I don’t think we’re worried about being dated. I think we’re way more interested about being now.”
Ironically enough, being dated and out of touch with modern trends is exactly one of the things Daniel Kibblesmith and artist Luciano Vechhio are being criticized about. This is particularly in response to their attempts at creating a diverse cast for the upcoming series.
As mentioned before, the characters of Snowflake and Safespace have been the main targets of this critique, with both of them being Black twins, and Snowflake being nonbinary.
One key issue here, however, is that the two of them being twins seems to be one of the main factors that define them. The same issue could also be said of Snowflake, where so far the only defining trait fans know about them is that they’re nonbinary.
This raises a key issue not just in this new “New Warriors” comic series, but media as a whole: the way they try to tackle diversity. Kibblesmith and Vecchio’s goal of trying to create a diverse cast that resonates with the modern generation is noble, but as with many of their design choices, the execution is where the problem lies.
Black Panther as a character that’s arguably a very empowering icon for Black people. The movie is also extremely diverse in that it consisted of a mostly-Black cast and crew and had multiple, well-done, empowering characters of color in it.
The key feature here is that even though most of the characters in it are Black, it’s never the exclusive trait that defines them. In fact, it’s not even brought up. It’s simply a part of their characters.
This is what well-done diversity looks like. Diversity doesn’t mean making people stand out as “special” and “different.”
Because at the end of the day, that’s what they are: people. And just like regular people, what defines these diverse characters should be their personality and their actions, not what makes them different.
An uncertain future for the New Warriors
Kibblesmith and Vecchio’s goals of creating a modern and diverse cast for the next incarnation of the New Warriors is an admirable and ambitious goal, but unfortunately, it suffers from a disconnect between what they believe fans want and what fans actually want.
The fans’ criticism has already taken a heavy toll on the comic series’ production, however. Where it once was supposed to have a release date of April 15, many online comic shops are now saying they’ll have the first issue available starting around October 27.
However, perhaps the first issue’s release and the rest of the series will improve due to fan critiques, and it may even leave a better impression on them than the initial trailer did. Either way, it seems the future of these new New Warriors is uncertain.
Until the first issue of the comic series comes out, if it comes out, who knows what lies in store for this new generation of superheroes.
Women of Wakanda forever! Ryan Coogler killed directing Black Panther. The Marvel movie broke records and it will forever be a stamp in time. It crushed the box office with $1.3 billion in ticket sales alone.
The superhero movie was more than epic when it hit the silver screen and now the young director has revealed that he is more than open to creating a female spin-off to the blockbuster hit.
Sheesh, maybe Chadwick Boseman can finally get a break. We all know that he is so tired of throwing up Wakanda across his chest. He’s been praying for this day.
The news came via Variety at this years Cannes Film Festival on Thursday afternoon. During a two-hour talk, moderator and critic Elvis Mitchell asked Coogler if the women of Black Pantherwere as important as the men.
You should know that his reply was worth remembering. Coogler said, “I think you could argue they are more important.” Of course, they are. Without Nakia, Okoye, Shuri, and the Dora Milaje, King T’challa wouldn’t be shit.
Killmonger would’ve easily washed Wakanda if wasn’t for the beautiful, Black, and powerful #WomenofWakanda. What was one of Coogler’s favorite parts of the film?
The part where T’challa was left for dead and viewers were totally just following the women. He told Variety,
“There’s a whole section of the film where T’Challa is out of the movie and you’re just following the women… That’s one of my favorite parts of the movie when I watched it, and I didn’t expect that… That part of the movie you feel like you’re watching something fresh and new. That part of it was exciting. We have these actresses who could easily carry their own movie.”
Let’s get it! A film like this would be very dope and much needed at a time where women find themselves at the shit end of the stick in Hollywood. Especially women of color.
The film would be very empowering for girls all around the world. The spin-off would be light work to produce as Marvel did focus on the women of Wakanda in the comics. When asked about doing a spin-off Coogler was ecstatic. He told Variety,
“Oh man! That would be amazing if the opportunity came up. They did it in the comic-book version.”
Hopefully, this really happens. God knows there’s nothing worse than high hopes and no delivery. No pressure Marvel and Disney. Just woo us as you have been. Wakanda Forever!
Black Panther had the biggest opening weekend for a Black director and is the highest-grossing movie (in North America) directed by a Black filmmaker in history. It’s the first major motion film with a majority Black cast, it’s based on an African nation that’s insulated, un-colonized and technologically advanced, and even the soundtrack was produced by a Black label in Top Dawg Entertainment.
BP also disproves the notion that Blacks can’t carry a big film or that their story isn’t relatable enough to garner international attention. In its four day debut, Black Panther pulled in a staggering $241.9m domestically and $169 million abroad (and that’s without debuting in some of the biggest global markets, like China, Japan, and Russia).
Black Panther is easily the biggest, Blackest movie off all-time.
But Black Panther’s success is just the latest peak of what has been a surge of successful Black films and television shows over the past couple of years. It’s the cherry on top, the sucker punch, and closing argument to Black’s cry for representation, access, and entry for the same opportunities white actors have been getting for decades.
Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) was the highest-grossing original debut ever, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight (2016)became the smallest budget production — accounting for inflation — to ever receive best picture at the Academy Awards.
Original, Black shows that tell true, Black stories are infiltrating television, too. Issa Rae’s Insecure was renewed for a third season on HBO and Donald Glover’s Atlanta, which plays snippets of Migos’s and other rap favorites throughout the show on network television of all places, is shooting its second season.
That doesn’t include Shonda Rhimes, who is dominating with the trifecta of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How to get Away with Murder (two of which have Black women as leads).
For an industry that has cast Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, John Wayne as Genghis Khan, Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia, Johnny Depp as Tonto (a Native American) in The Lone Ranger (2013) and tried to cast some white dude as Michael Jackson, it’s safe to say that we’re slowly turning a leaf.
Hollywood’s front door is finally beginning to sliver open for Blacks, but it’s important to remember that it’s just that — a sliver. The glass ceiling is far from being broken through. In fact, there’s barely been a crack.
For perspective, think about how far women have had to come and still have to go.
In 1980, the Bechdel test was developed to determine whether women were adequately represented in film. To pass the test was simple: two women had to talk to each other on screen about something other than a man.
Imagine that — being so ignorant to the void of women in film that a test to measure gender inequality was created. There’s still work to do though, there’s been more inclusion, more (white) women on screen talk to other (white) women and (white) women with leads.
Considering this, think how tough it is for Blacks, and imagine how much tougher for Black women.
An average of 75.2 percent of speaking roles already go to white actors, according to the 2014 University of Southern California study “Inequality in 700 Popular Films,” some of those parts are actually characters of color. And the films that have done well and that do cast Black actors, usually are the same roles.
With 12 Years a Slave, and 2015’s Selma — the last pictures nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards before Moonlight — it seemed as if Hollywood was only okay seeing Blacks cast in a certain light.
And while Black Panther is somewhat of a breakthrough, the metaphorical ceiling won’t truly be broken until Blacks consistently land leads for a multi-cultural major motion films, not just a film where everyone is Black.
There is an undeniable movement in Hollywood for Blacks that shouldn’t be ignored. Companies, like Macro for example, have been working to attract the right attention so that more Ryan Coogler’s and Ava Duvernay’s can exist, thrive and have a seat at the table.
Established around three years ago by former big name Hollywood agent, Charles D. King, Macro has made an intention to occupy the television, film, and even publication space, so that the Black voice can be heard. It’s why we’ve gotten a Mudbound (2017) and sites like Blavity, which cater to the black millennial voice.
For the first time in a long time, Black people can look at a screen and see themselves as a superhero, successful lawyer, a compassionate gay men or woman, and many other different complex ways that show actual people.
On the same token, however, it is important that we know there is still work to do.
As we celebrate Black Panther’s success, let’s hope this groundbreaking moment goes far beyond sales, and continues to chip away at the ceiling that has cast a shadow over Hollywood.
We got some fire releases this week, headlined by the Black Panther soundtrack, which turned out basically just to be a Kendrick Lamar album. Kendrick curated and executive produced the entire album and it is… perfect.
Usually I try to pick one standout track from an album or a song that sort of exemplifies the entire project, but as you will see, I was not able to do that here.
There were also a couple cool EPs dropping from the likes of 2 Chainz and young songstress Ravyn Lenae. Blood Orange and Topaz Jones released two new tracks each. And a feature from Drake might just change BlocBoy JB’s entire life.
The four-piece rap group SOB X RBE from Vallejo, California has been creating a pretty hot buzz of late. This song goes pretty damn hard. These kids are putting Vallejo (home of West Coast legend Mac Dre) back on the map.
In a press release this morning, Kendrick announced that he and TDE head executive, Anthony “Punch” Tiffith will be producing the soundtrack and writing scores alongside Marvel’s team for the film’s February 16th release.
Apparently Kendrick already gave us an update, too. You just had to pay close attention to the video for the single, “LOVE“.
“Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is amazing, from its cast to its director,” Kendrick said in the press release, via The Verge.
“The magnitude of this film showcases a great marriage of art and culture. I’m truly honored to contribute my knowledge of producing sound and writing music alongside [director Ryan Coogler] and Marvel’s vision.”
Comic book, movie, and lovers of culture have been anticipating the premier of Black Panther since the movie was first announced in In October 2014, with every reveal making the wait more agonizing.
Peep the official trailer for Black Panther:
The film’s black aesthetic is another reason the anticipation of there has been hype around the debut of the movie. Under an administration that is clearly at odds with the minorities of this country, Black Panther is a statement in the movie title in itself that serves as a beacon of light.
The cast is star-studded and predominantly black and includes the likes of Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Michael B. Jordan (Creed), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Forest Whitaker (Rogue One) and American Horror Story’s Angela Bassett, just to name a few. Now, with TDE, in control of the soundtrack, it’s blacker than ever. Like I said.
The details on the soundtrack are not released but if it’s anything that we’re use to hearing from the label, Black Panther might be even better than we predicted.
Peep the first song of the soundtrack “All The Stars” featuring Kendrick and SZA here.
If you weren’t excited about the Black Panther movie before, this new trailer willchange your mind.
The upcoming Marvel movie set to release Feb. 16 just got a new trailer showcasing its world and all the wildness happening in it.
This will be the 18th movie in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, set to focus on Black Panther and his home in Wakanda.
Everything about this movie makes me believe it’s about to be fire.
The cast, the director, the characters, even the Vince Staples song over the trailer proves it so. Also this is about to be the most people of color in a Marvel movie ever.
No disrespect to Falcon (I had to look up his name, I thought it was Eagle) and War Machine but Black Panther is not with that sidekick shit, he’s the king of a nation.
After watching the new trailer about 20 times all I can think about is why I’m excited for this movie.
The stacked cast of Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, and Andy Serkis is nothing but flex. Boseman, who’s set to play Black Panther, has played Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall in the past.
With past roles like that you already know Boseman is about to kill this role. Directing the cast will be Ryan Coogler who’s noted for making Creed and Fruitvale Station. Coogler was also the guy who interviewed J.Cole on stage back in 2016. Coogler worked with Michael B. Jordan on Creed and Fruitvale and the pairing is always great, this time should be no different.
The movie features some extremely interesting characters and a whole new world, which definitely helps out the already strong cast. From the little we’ve seen of Black Panther we already know he’s a savage.
The character’s debut in Civil War was nothing but gangsta, while everyone was throwing shields and lasers, Black Panther gave straight hands.
Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger – Black Panther’s opposing force – looks ready to kill everyone and everything. Jordan likened the beef between the two to Magneto and Professor X’s rivalry, only more hands.
The trailer looks lit, the cast looks lit, this movie just looks lit.