Before You Consider Wearing Traditional African Garb To See 'Black Panther', Do Your Research
It's not all meant for the movies.
Additionally, it is unseemly to wear Maasai, Zulu, or Xhosa jewelry as they indicate the completion of rites of passage, like marriage or initiation, if you have not passed through these rites. The same goes for ileke (beads) for various Orisha if you have not received shrines for- or been designated as belonging to- those Orisha. These protocols have been in place for hundreds of years, even longer.
One major concern that many African continentals have is that we in the diaspora are not taking the time to approach the cultures they grew up immersed in or were born into, with nuance and respect. Many feel that we are wearing African culture as costume and not properly respecting their/our heritage.
Let's respect our mother cultures by not misapplying them.
If you are unsure about what to wear, do your research. Ask for advice from your African friends or family. Take some time to consider the impact of what you are wearing. If you find that a particular article of clothing, or face paint, or tribal markings, or jewelry are off limits to you, respect that. There are other options. Insisting on prioritizing your feelings over someone else's actual culture is doing exactly what white people with locs and cornrows do. Prioritizing themselves. And you know we are not happy when Becky takes from our aesthetic.
There are dozens, even hundreds of talented African clothiers who would love to see you in their lovely designs but please respect African etiquette and protocol.
Black Panther, for many of us, is a turning point in our media representation and in our own acceptance and pride in our African heritage. Although Wakanda is fictional, our hope is not.
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And pull up to the scene looking GLORIOUS.