Not Without Black Women to host “Black Panther”: Bringing the Spirit of Wakanda talk Back

Danai Gurira as Okoye in “Black Panther”

So yeah, “Black Panther” is officially about, well, the Black Panther. And yeah, Killmonger, and M’Baku, and W’Kabi and are all great and compelling. But the real shining stars of the movie are the women: strong and smart Nakia, quick and deadly Okoye, and innovative, witty Shuri.

It’s because of this that Brittany Oliver, founding director of the advocacy group Not Without Black Women (NWBW), felt like she had to put together an event to talk about the blockbuster film. Black Panther: Bringing the Spirit of Wakanda Talk Back, will be held March 3 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at Cheat Day Bar & Grill (737 Carroll St., [443] 708-0929, cheatdaybarandgrill.com). Panelists will include Oliver, community health activist and Morgan State University professor Lawrence Brown, Nnamdi Lumumba of the Ujima People’s Progress Party, and professor Natasha Pratt Harris, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator at Morgan State University’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice. Community advocate and NWBW leader Charlene Rock-Foster will facilitate.

“I think that ‘Black Panther’ has provided an opportunity for various black communities all across the nation to have really important conversations about what it means to be black in America,” Oliver says.

“Originally we were not [having an event] but because of the response that we were getting from the community, they wanted us to have a talkback because Not Without Black Women brings a certain type of perspective when it comes to black radical politics.”

She says that it’s important to talk about the part women play in the story, and what that means for real women in real life.

Some of the topics to be discussed: the importance of black women’s roles both in reality and in the film, the lessons to be learned from “Black Panther” that can shape and influence black politics, and how entertainment influences our youth and communities.

Oliver is hopeful that by discussing these issues, we can bring a little bit of Wakanda to reality.

“Black women should be uplifted in these roles in this way,” she says. “And so I think that ‘Black Panther’ shows the power of when women are uplifted and placed at the center.” 

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