Ryan Coogler is having quite a moment. With the combined critical and commercial success of Fruitvale Station, Creed and Black Panther, the USC native is now three for three. Now, the acclaimed writer and director is sharing how his trip to Africa inspired his depiction of the fictional city of Wakanda in Black Panther.
In From Page To Screen: A Black Panther Discussion with Writers and Filmmakers, Coogler gives viewers details on how he went about creating his version of Wakanda, as well as his overall creative process. “I like to start projects out with a question that I’m trying to find the answer to. One is what does it mean to be African?,” Coogler said of his creative approach to the comic book movie. From there on, the Oakland native embarked on a trip to the continent, which further inspired the themes of colonization and identity that permeates throughout Black Panther.
The idea and the culture of the African American versus existing in direct conflict with the culture of the African. That’s when we started getting in tio some rich stuff to mine,” he said.
While directors such as Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay serve as beacons of hope for more diverse representation of African-Americans on and off the screen, let’s not forget that they are the sole custodian of their own art. It is often the role of a director to explore questions. Through the director’s camera, they formulate their own interpretation of issues through the own gaze and through their own lens.
The digital version of Black Panther arrives on shelves on May 8th and on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 15th.
Watch the conversation below over at The Grio, who exclusively debut this clip.