It has often been said that Hollywood movies cannot be made with black leads because they do not perform well overseas. Black Panther is, of course, disproving that old mantra, and recently Asian Boss took the streets of the film’s number two market (behind the U.S.), Korea, to ask the residents of Seoul what they thought of the movie.
The interviews touched on Koreans’ perceptions of black people, diversity in film, and Lupita’s Korean accent (the consensus: it wasn’t bad!).
“Before the average Korean’s perception of black people was not very good,” one man said. “Because we learned from our history books that they were slaves. Now we perceive them as cool and hip.”
Many have asked how much a movie can change. One interviewee said that one movie won’t change everything, but an increase in the number of movies with diverse casts would change everything.
“Sometimes, when a black person sits on the subway, no one sits next to him,” the man said. “When I see things like that, I wonder why Koreans are like that. For most Koreans, the main exposure they had to foreigners was through movies, but thee weren’t many black people in mainstream cinema … I think that’s why Korean people don’t have a very good perception of black people.”
Proving that point, another man said, “I always thought that white people were better looking than black people.” However, Black Panther changed his mind. “After seeing the movie and the female characters like the general or Shuri, I realized that black women are just as beautiful,” he added.
Others said they didn’t need the film to be convinced of black beauty.
“The main character was so good looking!” one woman exclaimed. “He was my type.”
And her friend agreed, “The main character is good looking, and his girlfriend is beautiful.”
Like many in the U.S., the Koreans featured in the video hope that Black Panther will open the door for more films featuring people of color.
One man said that he hopes “that it will set the stage for other minorities to star in superhero movies.” Another person said, “I hope that more movies come out with minorities as the lead heroes,” adding, “I’m personally looking forward to Marvel’s Korean heroes’ movies.”
Check out all of the interviews below.