With just a few more days until its release, Marvel's next installment into their cinematic universe, Black Panther, has already started shaping the imaginations of a generation of kids.
London-based Nigeran photographer Àsìkò, who goes by @asiko_artist on social media, decided to highlight this by recreating the sensational character posters with kids inspired by the film.
Àsìkò shared a few individual pictures from the series on Instagram and wrote about why Black Panther matters and what it means to him as comic lover.
"As a kid who read comics black panther was one of the very few superheroes I came across," he wrote. "For a child it is a beautiful thing to see yourself represented in a positive light in pop culture. What is also great is that it’s a hero steeped in culture and heritage and not drug deals or street thugging."
"The images are inspired by the movie character posters and will be displayed at the BFI on its opening film night this Friday evening," he added.
Àsìkò wrote that the photos were commissioned by the Talent Agency @lookslikemeuk. On his page, he posted a series of pictures featuring young kids channeling characters from the film, along with captions that include moving letters from fans on why black representation in film matters.
Check some out below:
For young black girls --- “I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: "Dear Lupita," it reads, "I think you’re really lucky to be this black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me. I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade to that beauty.” ~ the beautiful and intelligent Lupita Nyongo There is nothing more beautiful than seeing someone who represents the beauty that you on the screen. Little N’Adjoa inspired by @lupitanyongo in @blackpanther --- These images are Inspired by @blackpanther and will be exhibited on 9th February @britishfilminstitute stylist @basmakhalifa Talent @lookslikemeuk Face paint @nygloriousfacearts Thanks @vinecreatives for connecting me to Lookslikemeuk for this great project. #photography #portrait #artphotography #portraiture #BlackPanther #wakandaforever #WelcomeToWakanda #asiko #BlackPantherFanMovie #africanheritage #fineartportrait #MCU #MarvelStudios #MarvelCinematicUniverse
One fan expressed their joy at seeing black actors portraying characters that don't feed into the racial stereotypes associated with black people. In the post inspired by Daniel Kaluuya's W’abi, the fan believes this to be a turning point for film in general because Black Panther proves "we can play dope roles" too.
Representation matters --- “For so long, Black actors have been forced to usually play roles like the comic relief, the ghetto best friend, or the thug villain (with the exception of actors such as Denzel Washington and Viola Davis). But with the introduction of the Black Panther in the film industry, it’s proof Black actors can play more than the stereotypical roles we’ve been reduced to. We can play heroes, we can play kings, we can play the role of one of the most important members of the biggest @Marvel superhero coalition, and so much more. Needless to say, we can play dope roles.” ~ The Odessey Online --- Client work for @lookslikemeuk Beautiful Asa inspired by Daniel Kaluuyas W’abi @danielkaluuya. Both kings. These images are Inspired by @blackpanther and will be exhibited on 9th February @britishfilminstitute Stylist @basmakhalifa Talent @lookslikemeuk Face paint @nygloriousfacearts Thanks @vinecreatives for connecting me to this project #artphotography #portraiture #BlackPanther #wakandaforever #WelcomeToWakanda #asiko #BlackPantherFanMovie #africanheritage #fineartportrait #MCU #MarvelStudios #MarvelCinematicUniverse
The final post echoes some of the same sentiments as the previous one. What is assumed to be written by Asiko, the popular photographer said that he has grown tired of seeing drug dealers and thugs. Black Panther is a black comic fan's dream come true.
Why Black Panther matters --- As a kid who read comics black panther was one of the very few superheroes I came across. For a child it is a beautiful thing to see yourself represented in a positive light in pop culture. What is also great is that it’s a hero steeped in culture and heritage and not drug deals or street thugging (is thugging a word?). @ryancoogler and @marvelstudios have made a film that is part of the positive narrative changing voice of Africa and the black race and boy does it matter. I can imagine a child being empowered watching @blackpanther thinking “That superhero looks just like me” --- The images are inspired by the movie character posters and will be displayed at the BFI on its opening film night this Friday evening. I was commissioned by Talent Agency @lookslikemeuk to create the portraits. Special thanks to @vinecreatives for bringing me on to work with the team. Styling by @basmakhalifa and face painting by @nygloriousfacearts and Talent @lookslikemeuk Jewellery by @pebblelondon --- #photography #asiko #portraiture #blackpanther #bfiblackpanther #wakanda #wakandaforever #welcometowakanda #disney #marvel #africa #africanheritage
Asiko's work is featured in an exhibit at the British Film Insitute. Black Panther will hit theaters Feb. 16.