Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Atlantic national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates and what seemed like 1,500 of their closest friends gathered in the Apollo theater last night to discuss Black Panther and its social implications. The panel was presented in collaboration with The Atlantic and Afropunk.
Globally, the film has made over $700 million, but what makes it a “historic moment and cinematic history” to the Apollo’s executive producer, Kamilah Forbes, is the way it ignited black communities. When the three speakers walked onstage, the crowd rose to its feet, cheering and dancing to music from Black Panther: The Album (played by DJ Reborn). Somewhere lost in the audience, a man yelled “Wakanda forever!” and others echoed it back.
All three speakers had a hard time getting words out before the crowd erupted into applause. The joy wasn’t just palpable, it was audible and unabashedly so. Choruses of “yes!” and murmurs of agreement accompanied everything the speakers said, like they were preachers in a black church. If someone had burst out in a gospel song (at one point, Nyong’o did hum a tune from Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” although that’s not exactly the same type of spiritual), it wouldn’t have been surprising. Chadwick Boseman, born and raised in South Carolina, couldn’t even say the words “African-American” without a cheer coming from the crowd. click to read more