A black superhero arrived in Africa over the weekend — inspiring pride, tears of joy and a swift rebuke to President Trump’s crude comments about the continent.
Select audiences in African countries got a sneak preview of “Black Panther” during the week.
The sure-to-be blockbuster from Marvel generated enthusiastic responses from communities from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa that are often stereotypically represented on the big screen.
The film, with its almost entirely black cast and a young African-American director, received rave reviews after its stars walked the red carpet at a premiere in South Africa on Friday.
Elsewhere, fans fawned over the Afrocentric features of the film.
“The African culture highlighted in the movie is so rich that it makes me feel proud of being black. I totally love it,” said Liz Muthoni after a screening in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. “I can watch it again and again.”
Comic book diehards also appreciated the film’s reproduction of costumes from the original material and the characters’ accents.
“Usually in Hollywood, you’re just African,” said Sope Aluko, one of five Nigerians in the film, at the Lagos premiere in Nigeria.
“We knew that we had a responsibility towards Africa and the black community in general while shooting this movie,” she added. “But I didn’t expect anything like this, all this enthusiasm coming from the black community.”
Fans also marveled at the film’s depiction of the fictional Wakanda kingdom, an isolated African nation that has rebuffed Western imperialism.
Many praised the movie’s use of unique cultural touches like Basotho blankets and the South African isiXhosa language.
At the Johannesburg premiere, cast member John Kani laughed when asked by the Associated Press about Trump reportedly referring to African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting on immigration last month.
The South African native expressed pride at seeing an Afrofuturistic society that celebrates traditional cultures and dreams of what the world’s second most populous continent can be.
“This time the sun now is shining on Africa,” he said. “This movie came at the right time. We’re struggling to find leaders that are exemplary and role models … so when you see the Black Panther as a young boy and he takes off that mask you think, ‘Oh my God, he looks like me. He is African and I am African. Now we can look up to some person who is African.’ ”
In Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, “Black Panther” has been selling out its five-times-a-day screenings at the only theater showing the film.
“Tears stream down my face as I write this,” LadyRock Maranatha wrote on Facebook after seeing the film in Addis Ababa. “I cried for my people and felt immense pride in being Ethiopian and most importantly AFRICAN. We are truly resilient and beautiful.”
With News Wire Services