America isn't the only place Black Panther is breaking records and snatching wigs. The blockbuster has taken Africa by storm for its portrayal of the fictional Wakanda and positive representations of African cultures.
In the wake of President Donald Trump's alleged remarks, calling African nations "sh*tholes," the film inadvertently proves Trump wrong. Many of the film's stars call nations in the motherland home. Danai Gurira was raised mostly in Zimbabwe, and Lupita Nyong'o is from Kenya. All of them have represented their native nations with pride as the film continues to be a crowd-pleaser everywhere.
South African cast member John Kani, who portrays T'Chaka, laughed off Trump's comments. He told media members at the Johannesburg premiere Friday, Feb. 16 that this film came out at the right time to show just how great Africa truly is.
"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.'"
But the film's success is more than a repudiation of Trump. The Black Panther opening in South Africa was as the third biggest industry opening weekend ever in the country. According to Citizen, nearly 200,000 attendances went to theaters for the 3-day opening weekend from February 16-18. Furthermore, the film became the highest Saturday box office of all time in South Africa.
With just one theater in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Black
Panther garnered sold-out crowds at their screenings which occurred five times daily.
In Kenya, the film screened a few days before the American release.
"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."
It turns out, film star Lupita Nyong'o's father, Anyang, had some high praise for the film. So high, that he wrote about the film's impact — and of course, its representation.
"Sometimes we think that we have two choices to make in Africa," he wrote this month in The Star newspaper. "Choice one: We maintain our traditions and cultures and stay backward forever. Choice two: We modernize by becoming westernized and forgetting our cultural traditions which, by their very nature so we think, are stuck in the past. The experience of the Wakanda people teaches us otherwise."
This here is South African actress Connie Chiume, Kenyan born Lupita Nyongo, Zimbabwean American Danai Gurira and South African legend John Kani, Stars of #BlackPanther which is approaching a $200 million 4 Day record at the box office. Africa your time is now ???? pic.twitter.com/elSGwRGOg5— Jay Badza (@jaybadza47) February 17, 2018