Featured/Interviews

Black Panther Is Amazing and Wakanda Is The New Zamunda

Hey Cuties,

I had an epic Black Panther weekend although the movie doesn’t open until this Friday, February 16th. I’m sharing it all, but no spoilers I promise. I attended a press screening for Marvel’s Black Panther movie. Full Disclosure, I’m not a superhero fan and this was the first Marvel movie I’ve ever seen. Despite all of those things, it was fan-freaking-tastic.

ryan coogler black panther interview

Photo Credit: Disney Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

You don’t have to know about superheroes to enjoy this movie.  While watching I never felt like I was missing something.  Since 1988 we had proudly joked about being from the land of Zamunda thanks to Coming to America. Well, in 2018 Wakanda is the new Zamunda you need to go ahead and get into it.  This movie is the symbol of excellence period, but more specifically black excellence start to finish. From the casting to the director, to the producer to the costume designer to it being located in Africa. It is a royal ass good time and I was here for it and you will be too.

In theaters on Friday, February 16th.
A lot of the pre-sales are sold out already but don’t be a quitter.
Get you a ticket, this is the movie of the year!

ryan coogler black panther interview

The Cast: Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life. “Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole wrote the screenplay.

ryan coogler black panther interview

Black Panther Director: Ryan Coogler Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

I was already ecstatic about seeing the movie, but then I had the honor and pleasure of sitting down with Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler. First off Ryan is only 31 years old, and this is his third movie; he did Fruitvale Station, Creed and now Black Panther. This man already has two hit films on his hands and this undoubtedly is number three. I’m already calling the record-breaking numbers it will bring in.

Our introduction to one another was hilarious!
Q: Did you anticipate the abundance of excitement before the movie even comes out? (ie. sold out premiers, social media hype, etc.)

A: No, I didn’t; the perspective is different because of the social media component.  I am still caught up in the making of the movie, I want it to be something people like and can sit down and enjoy. That is enough for me, I try to keep things in perspective in that it is just a movie. Fun Fact: Ryan is not on social media.

Q: When you sat down at the very beginning what did you know you had to get right?

A: The casting I would say, I’m a comic book fan myself. You announce who you cast before you began shooting and it is judged from the beginning. The casting comes with implications, I wrote the script with certain characters in mind. We got some of the most talented women in one movie and they are in varying levels of their career. In the 90’s we had three main actors that could do it all (Denzel Washington, Will Smith & Wesley Snipes) they could do action, they had sex appeal, and they were funny. Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman can each front their own movie but this gave me a chance to make that Denzel and Will Smith collabo movie I never got to see as a kid. Now the kids coming up have Michael and Chad to be the modern-day Denzel and Will.

ryan coogler black panther interview

Danai Gurira (Okoye) & Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia) Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

 

Q: With your responsibility as a creator, what did you want to achieve with this film?

A: It was important for me to infuse my own creativity into this movie. This was important for me to do as a black man with a really specific perspective. I’m an African American Black Man born in the 80’s from Oakland, CA. I see the world a particular way for all for all of those reasons. I had questions as it relates to my identity as well; as a result of that, there is a dynamic there. Being African vs. African American is very interesting and I face that head-on in various stages of my life. I felt I had a responsibility; Hip Hop culture is basically Pop Culture now. The African culture that the world knows the most is what is pumped into Pop Culture and that is the African American version of African culture.  I have a responsibility to really do my homework and penetrate the continent; so I had to visit the continent and spend time in several countries.

Q: What questions were you able to answer for yourself by making this movie?

A: What it means to be African, it is a question I’ve been asking myself since I found out I was black. You have to navigate this world a certain way. It is a conversation every black person has had to have because of the way the world works.  Where I’m from if you don’t have that understanding you could be in situations that can cost you your life. Most people teaching me about my blackness had never been to the very place (Africa) we came from since we were brought here. Going their allowed me to answer that question for myself.

ryan coogler black panther interview

Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger) & Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther) Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Q: What questions did you want to infuse into the movie?

A: The theme of am I my brother’s keeper.  We broke it down, each character has a different answer to that question. T’Challa (Black Panther) is the only character whose answer changes in the film. My favorite action movies have themes that I can chew on. That is what we were trying to do, to make a movie that functions as what it was supposed to be but also have some depth to it.

Q: What was something you learned about yourself that you didn’t know?

A: I learned that we as African Americans are really African. Our African American culture and everything we do is very African. I grew up thinking we had our African culture taken from us, that it was lost. The truth is we didn’t, we held on to it. We just didn’t really know because most of us have never been to Africa.

ryan coogler black panther interview

Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger) & Director – Ryan Coogler Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Q: How much did you take out of the actual Black Panther comics?

A: We took tons, we read every run. There is probably something from every run in the movie, except the Dare Devil. We did all the major Black Panther Runs like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Stan Lee, Don McGregor, Jack Kirby, Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, Jonathan Hickman and Jason Aaron.

ryan coogler black panther interview

L to R: Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Letitia Wright (Princess Shuri), Danai Gurira (Okoye)

While this movie is most certainly about T’Challa/Black Panther you can’t overlook the women in his village. They do an amazing job of showing the strength of women. This is the first time I’ve seen us shown in such an epic way. They aren’t quiet, they aren’t lesser. These women are boldly who they are, they speak up when necessary and they take no mess. This is the kind of girl power we need to see more often. They are beautiful, they are, smart, they are hilarious, they work together, they are supportive, they are mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers, and friends but damn it they are strong as hell. Fun Fact: Princess Shuri is my absolute favorite character in the movie.

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This is an action movie.

This is not a black movie.

This is an amazing action movie that happens to feature a mostly black cast.

This is not a black movie.

There are tons of movies with an all-white cast and we don’t call it a white movie. We just call it a movie.

Say it with me, everyone, this is NOT a black movie.

This is an amazing movie and you should definitely go see it.

Lifestyle Media Correspondent MimiCuteLips shares her Ryan Coogler Black Panther interview. Ryan Coogler is the Director of Black Panther, Creed & Fruitvale Station. No spoilers. #BlackPanther #BlackPantherEvent #BlackPantherSoLit #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe

Do you plan to see the movie? Are you a Marvel fan? Chat with me in the comments below or FBIG, and Twitter.

Article written by:

Mimi Green is the Lifestyle Media Correspondent and editor behind MimiCuteLips®. She is a mother of two and a girlfriend to one. You can find Mimi working media at your favorite events, traveling and trying out new adventures, or working on a dope DIY project.

Join the discussion

  1. Chante Burkett

    I so can’t wait for friday….That cast is just so amazing!!!!

  2. Tonia

    My ticket is bought and I can’t wait. All you had to say was “the new Zamunda!”

  3. robin rue

    I am SO excited to see this movie. I am obsessed with all things Marvel as it is, but this one looks SO good!

  4. Amber Myers

    This is such a great interview. I cannot wait to see this movie with my family. I know we’ll all love it.

  5. Alison Rost

    It was so nice having a sit down with the cast and learning all about how they made the movie and more. I’m looking forward to seeing it! It’s really very exciting!

  6. Tomi C

    Again, this is not a BLACK movie. I am growing weary of hearing Black Panther touted as a “Black” movie. When my kids heard it was in the making they were so excited another Marvel fave was hitting the big screen. The reviews have been amazing and I am excited anticipating seeing the movie this weekend!

    • MimiCuteLips

      Society likes to put us in a box every chance they get it seems.

      You guys will enjoy it on so many levels. I’ve never wanted the world to see a movie so bad. I didn’t expect to feel this way.

  7. Lisa Favre

    We are all so excited to see this movie and I just know it’s going to be action-packed – and not to mention, the acting will fabulous! The cast lineup is so impressive.

  8. Ashley

    I’m screening it tonight and as a HUGE comic book and MCU fan I cannot wait. It looks amazing and I know I’m going to love it.

  9. Carissa

    Great Post!!! I would’ve been star struck and it’s not many celebrities that I think would have that effect on me, but this cast would definitely do it! I love your breakdown of the movie at the end LOL!!

  10. Leslie

    I plan to see it Thursday. I am not a Marvel fan but love the actors who are in the movie.

  11. Heather

    This movie looks like its going to be a hit. My husband and kids love all things Marvel, so I’m certain it will be on our watch list.

  12. Anosa

    I am so excited to be going to see this movie and I can wait to see Wakanda, I do remember coming to America lol

  13. Sarah Bailey

    Hands up I cannot wait to see this! The more I see and read the more I get excited about being able to get to the cinema to see it!

  14. Amanda

    I am so excited to see Black Panther. I always love when bloggers have interviews like this so you can really understand the entire movie making process. I especially love that there are so many strong female characters in the film.

    • MimiCuteLips

      Yes, Amanda. We always fight to have a seat at the table. In this movie, not only do the women have a seat, they build the damn thing.

  15. Emily

    This would be so fun to attend and hear the stories and thoughts from the actors on the movie. I have heard amazing things about this movie, I am excited to see it!

  16. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh

    So cool that you got to go to that!! My husband and daughter are excited about seeing this movie!

    • MimiCuteLips

      I hope they enjoy it, I’m sure they will come home telling you all about it. Especially your daughter, the girl empowerment in the movie is so dope.

  17. Kim

    First of all, ALL of my favorite black actors/actresses are in one movie! I love me some Danai Guerrera. LOVE. I’ve watched Forest Whitaker since his Crying Game days.

  18. Franc Ramon

    I”m excited with the Black Panther movie. You were so lucky to be up close with the cast and get their insights about the movie.

  19. Antoinette Cain

    This is great to know. I’m not a fan of comic books and was wondering if it would still be enjoyable to those of us who aren’t familiar with the character and storyline.

  20. Sara Welch

    I am SO jealous that you got to see this already. I’ve been sitting on pins and needles waiting to see it!

  21. Jay Colby

    I’ve been looking forward to watching this movie since it was announced last year. The more and more I read and hear about it just makes me more excited.

  22. Ana De- Jesus

    I agree that you don’t need to be a super hero fan to enjoy a ‘super hero’ movie like Black Panther. I can’t wait to watch it, especially as it has Lupita Nyong’o who I think is the most flawless human being.

  23. Dhemz

    Pretty cool casts right there! I can’t wait to watch it. Looks like it was a fun event for you. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Penny

    Everyone is so beautiful in this movie. Plenty of eye candy for anyone!
    I do hear a lot of excitement over this movie – I can’t wait to see it!

  25. Stacie

    I saw it yesterday and loved it! I know you don’t like it being called a black movie but I love how well oit represented us and makes us proud.

    • MimiCuteLips

      When they label it a black movie that puts us in a box. We don’t get all of the accolades we deserve.

      Despite that, I freaking love the sheer black excellence of it all.

  26. Jilly Frances

    This movie sounds awesome. I can’t wait to see it with my hubby.

  27. Ben Butler

    I am soooo excited to see this movie. Black Panther is one of the most complex characters in the Marvel universe, in both the film and the comic books. His weight as both king and super hero is well-documented, and his feeling on things often changed based on what he sees, does, and on the experiences he has. I’m not sure what his change is going to be in the film, but in the comic books, he has an ongoing struggle with the disillusionment he feels towards his responsibilities.

    • MimiCuteLips

      Ben, you are a legit fan and I love that. You still see that conflict in the movie. They took pieces from various comics to create a full story. I think you are going to enjoy the outcome of it old.

  28. Ashley

    I saw Black Panther early and loved every second. It definitely lives up to the hype! I’m seeing it again this weekend with my girls.

  29. Audrey

    We are hoping to catch Black Panther tonight! I have read so many great reviews, and your review and cast interviews really gets me excited to see it!

  30. Heather

    Living in a family with all boys, I’m sure we’ll end up seeing this movie soon. We usually see anything Marvel related.

  31. CeCe

    It’s sad that you had to say “this is not a black movie” because that’s what happens. If the majority of the cast is black, well, then it’s a black movie. Society can be so stupid. Unlike you, I’m a big superhero fan. I’ve even been Storm (from X-Men) a couple of times for Halloween. My hubby and I go see ALL the superhero movies. We don’t discriminate between Marvel and DC. LOL. What I love is that the world finally gets to see an African-American superhero on the big screen. It’s like “Finally! It’s our time.” And we’ll get to see some strong females as well, which I’m looking forward to seeing. Disney managed to f@##k it up with The Princess and the Frog (I’ll get over it eventually. I swear), so this a little bit redeeming in a way. LOL

    If you have Netflix, you can see another African-American superhero on the small screen (Luke Cage). Your hubby and son like Black Panther, then they’ll like Luke Cage. He’s pretty bad ass, too. 🙂

    • MimiCuteLips

      Yes, Cece. School me, girl, I hear so much about Luke Cage, I will have to check it out. We have Netflix lovers. Between watching Black Panther and Black Lightning it has created an interest to see more.

      I have feelings about Princess and the Frog too. She is always left out of the “princess” stuff.

  32. Pingback: What Does Black Panther Mean To Me? - MimiCuteLips

  33. Michelle Thames

    I havent seen this movie but I think I really need to. I am usually not into Marvel movies but I dont think I can miss going to see this one. I am super excited to go see it soon.

  34. Katherine G

    I still need to see this movie. I Have heard great things about it. I so want to go to wakanda

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