The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.
In our first introduction to Wakanda, we flocked to the theaters with jubilation and pride to revel in the on-screen magnificence. The characters, costumes, and world-building. But, this time, the experience of going to the movies with family and friends to see the new Black Panther film felt fundamentally different. Many of us were adorned in white, bodies calm, and hearts steady as we prepared for what we knew would be both a cinematic gem and a grieving experience. Grief for the loss of our beloved Chadwick Boseman, our Black Panther, grief for the world that has drastically changed since the original film premiered in 2018, and the private grief we all hold in our hearts for our own meaningful reasons. It all felt like seeing your favorite cousins at a funeral. You’re happy to see them because it’s been a minute, but you wish it were under different circumstances.
This week, our beloved podcast production team, Cindy, Ellice, and Fredia join me to discuss Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever. We explored the complexities of grief displayed across characters in the film, comment on storylines we were surprised and delighted by, and make predictions for the future of the Black Panther franchise. This episode does contain spoilers.
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Our Production Team
Executive Producers: Dennison Bradford & Maya Cole Howard
Producers: Fredia Lucas, Ellice Ellis & Cindy Okereke
Session 285: Wakanda Forever, Producers’ Chat
Dr. Joy: Hey y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 285 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into our conversation after a word from our sponsors.
Dr. Joy: In our first introduction to Wakanda, we flocked to the theaters with jubilation and pride to revel in the onscreen magnificence. The characters, costumes, and worldbuilding. But this time, the experience of going to the movies with family and friends to see the new Black Panther film felt a little different. Many of us were adorned in white, bodies calm and hearts steady as we prepared for what we knew would be both a cinematic gem and a grieving experience. Grief for the loss of our beloved Chadwick Boseman, our Black Panther, grief for the world that has drastically changed since the original film premiered in 2018, and the private grief we all hold in our hearts for our own meaningful reasons. It all felt like seeing your favorite cousins at a funeral: you're happy to see them because it's been a minute, but you wish it were under different circumstances.
To discuss Wakanda Forever in depth, this week I'm joined by our beloved podcast producers—Cindy, Ellice, and Fredia. We explore the complexities of grief displayed across characters in the film, comment on storylines we were surprised and delighted by, and make predictions for the future of the Black Panther franchise. Please note that this episode does include spoilers for the film, so if you haven't had the opportunity to watch, please put the episode on pause and return once you've had time to enjoy it. If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession, or join us over in the Sister Circle to talk more in depth about the episode. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. Here's our conversation.
Dr. Joy: We are chatting today for another wonderful Producers’ Chat about one of our new favorite movies, Black Panther 2 - Wakanda Forever. If we could just start by doing introductions of who you are and your role on the team.
Cindy: Hi, I'm Cindy. I'm one of the producers.
Ellice: Hi, I'm Ellice. I'm one of the producers on the Therapy for Black Girls podcast.
Fredia: Hey, I'm Fredia, I'm also one of the producers here at Therapy for Black Girls.
Dr. Joy: Perfect. All right, so I thought that we could start, as Ellice suggested, by going around and saying three adjectives that would describe your experience of watching Wakanda Forever.
Fredia: I don't have three adjectives, but I have three words. Colonizers watch out.
Dr. Joy: You have a message.
Fredia: I'm just picking it with the message of the film.
Dr. Joy: Okay. What about you, Ellice?
Ellice: It was soul stirring, I feel like that's a good way to describe it. Dynamic. And it was funny, I thought it was funny.
Dr. Joy: I think my three words would be moving, beautiful and thought-provoking. Those would be mine. Cindy, did you have three words that would describe your experiencing Wakanda Forever?
Cindy: Three words. I think heavy, isolating and beautiful.
Dr. Joy: Isolating is an interesting choice. Say more about isolating.
Cindy: Yeah, I think it's also because I had recently experienced a passing and so it was lovely to kind of see grief manifested on screen. But I also went by myself and I also was feeling very withdrawn personally, because I was just like in that reflective space. I think I was processing a lot of emotions in tandem with the movie and so, in certain ways, there were moments that I felt very isolated. Just because I had been carrying a lot of grief in all the different stages and phases. The first one, I remember being so excited and ready to celebrate, but going to see this one, I was a little bit fearful. I think it was because I was worried about how overwhelming the emotions were going to be for me, both the fictional ones, but also the ones that are real for me. And so I ended up choosing to see it by myself just because I wasn't sure if I was going to cry through the whole thing and just be disruptive. So yeah.
Dr. Joy: Let's talk about your experience of going to the movie. Before, when we found out that it was coming out, of course there was this whole family meeting around wearing white to the theater and bringing all your people. Then what was your experience of seeing the film for the first time? Because I believe both of you have seen it multiple times. I've only seen it once. What was your experience the first time? Did you wear white, did you go with your family? What was it like?
Fredia: I did not get the memo of wearing white and was properly annoyed with myself and my squad.
Cindy: We literally were looking like, oh, I think we missed something online, we didn’t get. Oh, this is embarrassing. Somebody have any white socks to show please?
Dr. Joy: What about you, Ellice?
Ellice: The first time I actually went by myself, I didn't wear white but it was great seeing it alone. The second time I went with a big group of people, also didn't wear white or anything like that. But I liked chatting with everyone (I think I went with like 12 people) about their expectations for the movie and what they liked about the first one, if they really remembered it, because Black Panther 1 was so long ago. And then after kind of deciphering with people like, did it live up to your expectations? Do you think they did Chadwick justice? All those different things. So going with a lot of people was exciting because I kind of got a range of opinions about the movie other than my own.
Dr. Joy: I hear that. Even though I have not seen it, I do plan on seeing it again. I saw it for the first time with my husband and two kids. I felt like I was a little distracted because it's a long movie so we had to have a potty break in the middle. I feel like I missed some some pretty crucial conversation. And I felt like I was answering a lot of questions so I feel like I need to go back for myself when I can be undistracted. We did not wear white. I do feel like there was more, at least for me, it felt like I was in character for the first one. I think I had a head wrap on and all black. I don't think we had a specific color theme for the first one, I think it was just like getting in some kind of costume or what we would imagine people would wear in Wakanda. I didn't feel that same energy for this one and I think it was a part of grief. Like a loss of Chadwick, and I'm sure we will talk about it. But to me, I was very excited about seeing this film, but it didn't feel as joyful maybe, or I didn't have that same level of a high wanting to go see this one as I did the first one. What do you feel like has stayed with you since you saw the film?
Cindy: I think the thing that has stayed with me is the sunrise sort of feeling, where there's always hope and joy, like there's always something else on the other side. That seems to have been the theme that stuck with me the most after seeing it. That the sun will still rise, and you have the opportunity to have a “what's next,” which is really cool.
Fredia: What stuck with me was the way that Queen Ramonda, played by Angela Bassett… The way that she delivered a very painful punishment to Okoye but also was merciful in that punishment. Initially when I saw the scene, I thought Queen Ramonda was being too harsh, in the initial moment when Okoye is crying. And we know this as the audience, I was rooting for Okoye. She clearly is willing to lay her life down for this kingdom and for the royal family and for everything that the country stands for. And I was like, oh Queen, Ramonda, you're being a little rough, taking really her livelihood away from her in front of everybody. For a moment, it just felt like so much. But then when she defended her actions, I really thought about it. As a queen, she could kill Okoye for this. This is punishable by death by other kingdoms. You've lost the princess.
And I realized, even when people harm black women and we are rightfully entitled to be angry, I'll still think, oh, maybe you should be a little nicer. And even having to unlearn that as a black woman. No, let her be mad, let her be furious. She has lost everything. I'm sympathizing with Okoye’s character—Okoye didn't lose her daughter, Okoye didn't lose her son. Granted, Okoye did everything to protect those two individuals for what I know of her, but that's what stuck with me. Let black women be mad. She didn't want to be mad with Okoye, she didn't want to have to strip her from being the general of the army, but it had to be done. And I think, personally, for me going into my 30s in this next year in 2023, identifying when it's really more than acceptable to be furious and how you can still be merciful and respectful, even when you're laying the law down on somebody. I think that that was a lesson that I really needed to learn.
Dr. Joy: I did not look at it that way. I appreciate you sharing that. I hadn't seen it in that way but I clearly see what you're saying now. What about you, Ellice, what has stayed with you?
Ellice: You guys all talked a little bit about this, but of course, grief was a really big theme in the film. I think between King Namor, Queen Ramonda, Nakia and Shuri, they all were experiencing grief. What stuck with me about that was how grief can be like a vehicle to a lot of other emotions and a lot of other actions. I guess there's a range of responses to grief and I think you saw it through each of those characters. And so with Queen Ramonda it was anger, that was a big part of her grief. And with Shuri, she was grappling between anger and forgiveness and you saw that in the scene with Killmonger’s character. You saw that in that scene. And then with Nakia, it was isolation. She went to Haiti, she didn't come back for the funeral. She really removed herself from Wakanda, which probably was a big symbol of her grief.
I don't have the clearest picture of this, but for King Namor, the Water King, it looked like he was also really angry about his homeland being taken away, what’s being done to his people, them having to hide and defend themselves against the Western world or just world powers in general. And so it seemed like he was just very angry at the situation his country was in or his kingdom was in. I think to point to what Fredia said, sometimes we police the way people of color respond to grief and I think all of those characters paint a very beautiful picture and a realistic picture of how people respond to being exploited, being violated, death, things like that, which I think all encompass grief.
Dr. Joy: I completely agree with you. I know in kind of thinking about us recording this episode, we were talking about, okay, at what point did you start crying in the movie? I started crying from the beginning. I cried throughout, as soon as the credits started rolling, the silent montage of Chadwick. I started crying from the beginning and cried on and off throughout. Some of them were , I feel like, tears of sadness. But also, I feel just very moved. It felt very stirring to me. Just because, again, this whole world built with all black people and other people of color, to me it’s just so incredible and feels aspirational in some ways. It's such a departure from actual reality.
I also felt like I found myself, and I know that some of the tears I was crying really had nothing to do with the film. I feel like it just was a way for me to release some of what I was holding on to. My own grief, not necessarily related to losses of people, but just the losses of the past couple of years and the loss of Chadwick and thinking about, we've seen the cast as they've done press forward, and talking about how they all were grieving collectively. So I'm also imagining what that was like for them to be on set with one another without him and just thinking about what this experience had been like for his family. So I feel like the film just kind of pulled on a lot of that. And I think a lot of people had similar reactions to the grief related to the loss of him, but also whatever was going on in your own personal life. I think the film gave us space for it, for that to kind of come to the surface.
Fredia: I held my tears until the very end. Because I didn't want to cry because I lost someone this year, a male figure in my life. And similar to what Cindy was saying, just knowing that you have to continue on without this person and they would want you to do that. I feel like that's a narrative that has been true and consistently shared about this film. We all want Black Panther to continue. And knowing that in order for us to do that, we have to continue without Chadwick. And in order for me to continue on with my life, I have to do without my loved one. So I didn't want to cry because I just felt like as soon as I started, I don't know when I would stop.
But when Shuri got to the beach, there's something about the ocean. Maybe because there's so much water around you. Crying next to the ocean, you feel your tears are so small. No one can see these. Everyone's focusing on the ocean, that's a much bigger body of water than what's coming out of my eyes. When she sat down, I felt like eventually we all will have to sit down. Not eventually, we will have to, but it is in our best interest to eventually sit down and really succumb to the sadness that you might feel. And I just let it all out. And then Rihanna’s song, Lift me Up, is just so beautiful. It's just so good. There's something about it that really touched a chord in my heart.
Dr. Joy: I do think that that speaks to your earlier point, Ellice, around the different ways that people manage grief. And we saw that even with Shuri and Queen Ramonda. The Queen was trying to move through these stages of grief: these are the rituals, we burn the clothes… Whereas Shuri, it felt like, kind of threw herself into her work, was doing more intellectualizing, not wanting to deal with the grief until she realized there is no outrunning it. You cannot outwork it. Grief will always make a space for itself, whether we want to do that or not, and so sometimes it is easier to just allow ourselves to make space for it, as opposed to trying to outwork it or outrun it or throw ourselves into all kinds of different projects. Whatever we use to cope with it, sometimes it is just best to make space to actually process and deal with it.
The other thing that I think that there had been a lot of speculation about. Okay, we knew, I think with some of the later trailers, that there was going to be another Black Panther, somebody was going to be wearing the costume. I don't think we knew who. I think we were guessing like, okay, this looks like a woman's figure so we think maybe this is a woman. How did you all feel about the fact that Shuri was the one who became the next Black Panther?
Fredia: I loved it. I thought in the first movie, she was more of comedic relief, even though she was really important to a lot of the action. Her being Black Panther and just also her being the central figure in the movie, kind of moving the story forward. I think it was fun to see just her character advance and I think having her be the Black Panther was kind of like the cherry on top of that and a scene in the movie that signified that Shuri is more than a sidekick. I did enjoy that and I think we saw that in the first movie. She's the one behind the technology so it was very fitting for her to take that on. Because, one, no one could have understood the Black Panther role like her because of her relationship to the technology, but also because it was her brother and so I thought that was really fitting. And you're probably going to touch on this but at the end of the movie, we find out that T’Challah has a son. And so I'm really excited looking forward to see his relationship with Shuri and if he's going to take over the role of the Black Panther if he's interested in that. I thought it was really heartwarming, but it also kind of moves Shuri to a central character instead of the funny little sister.
Ellice: I really loved The Apprentice Shuri became the Black Panther. I was very inspired by her recreating, reigniting the heartshaped herb that gives them the Vibranium powers. And I think it was inspiring because, if at any point in time you ever think there's been so much hardship in your family, and sometimes it just feels like your family can't bounce back. It just felt like even if all of your resources, everything that your family has ever known that defines them, even if it's all burned to the ground, your family lineage will never die if you continue. If you continue to love each other, if you continue to believe in yourself, if you continue, your family lineage doesn't die with the dead. It lives on with the living. Because we saw Killmonger burn all of it. But with her genius and her tenacity, and brilliance, she literally brought the family back. And I feel like that, I feel like I'm going into a time in my life where I'm thinking, wait a second, am I the future matriarch of my family? Oh yeah, my grandma passed, my mom will pass, one day, it'll be me. I gotta get this family together. And if Shuri can do it, I can too.
Cindy: I just think that having Shuri become the Black Panther is one of those things where it is showing the place of innovation within tradition. There's a way that she's like marrying the old rituals and traditions to a new kind of outlook and that just shows you how cultures and communities continue to evolve, and that resiliency is also why we're still here. When you think about black culture, you think about the African diaspora, there is a lot of separation and a lot of innovation that happened within that and that's the reason that we're able to have all these different expressions of who we are that are still linked. For me, I also feel like Shuri becoming the Black Panther in that way, despite her, I guess rebellion against traditional rituals and stuff, like when her mom was trying to get her to do all those things. But she still found a way to integrate those two things together for herself and it still allows for Wakanda and the Black Panther to continue on. That's what I love the most about this choice, is that it shows a way forward in a way that allows to be more expansive, and break what you think that you know about what it means to be the Black Panther.
Dr. Joy: More from our conversation after the break.
Dr. Joy: One of the other things that I really loved, and I think y'all are kind of speaking to some of this, it definitely feels like the “black girl magic” felt very strong in this film. I loved all of the genius of Shuri and I always love the dora milaje, like they are so powerful. To me, it is just such a departure from what we typically see on screen in terms of the armed protectors. For it to be a whole army of black women, that to me, it's just so incredible. But I also really love the introduction of Riri Williams who now of course is a part of the Marvel Universe. To your earlier point, Ellice, around funny, I really feel like some of the dynamics with Shuri, Riri, and Okoye were some of the funniest moments on screen. I really enjoyed that. And I found a part of that is what was so moving to me too, is that you see this world where black women are in control and just doing all the things. There is no part of Wakanda that is not touched by a black woman kind of running things, which I also find just incredibly inspirational.
Ellice: I loved Riri so much. The second time I saw the movie, I had dipped out the theater for like 10 minutes to get a drink and I came back right when she was introduced. I was like great, this is my favorite part of the movie. She was so lively. Honestly, her energy kind of reminded me of Sha'Carri Richardson. She had a IDGAF attitude but she was really smart and she knew that she was really good at what she did. And I think that was really refreshing to see because a lot of times, black women, especially black girls, aren't really affirmed. Like, oh yeah, you're really smart, it's okay to like be cocky about that and be proud of that. You don't have to be like the humble nerd in the corner and so I thought that was really exciting.
It was good to see kind of the dynamics between a Wakandan and then a Black American. I liked how that African diaspora was highlighted through that. Obviously, she had braids, and they wear so many different styles in Wakanda and in the States, it was just really beautiful to see so many different types of black women on screen. And then it was really heartwarming at the end of the movie to see Shuri fix up her car. She had lost her dad as well and had worked on the car with her dad. And so them kind of connecting over grief and understanding those momentos are really important, just like the Black Panther suit was important to Shuri, I thought that was really beautiful.
Dr. Joy: M'Baku was one of my favorites from the original Black Panther, but I really really loved him in Black Panther 2 because I do feel like his role had expanded. I loved the dynamic that it seems like he has now with Shuri and it does feel like there was some conversation with Prince T’Challa around, kind of, take care of her in my absence. And so it feels like he has become this wise confidant to her. At the end, I was a little confused and I feel like I didn't know if he was trying to be funny by showing up to the ceremony saying, oh, I'm challenging for the throne. Do you think he is going to become the day-to-day ruler of Wakanda, like the king of Wakanda? And then Shuri is just gonna be off being the Black Panther? What do you think all of that meant at the end?
Ellice: M'Baku is the rightful and appropriate King for Wakanda. He has been a trusted advisor, he has shown up for this community. Every time they are in a peril of trouble, he sends his soldiers in. He has graciously lost and accepted defeat when he was not able to be the king. And I feel like now it’s truly his rightful time to be king of Wakanda and that is what I'm rooting for.
Cindy: I kind of saw it as a sign of respect because this is something that he's always done with every leader of Wakanda. It's common to challenge so I think it's also in a way an acknowledgement that he does recognize that Shuri is Black Panther. And that she's not just this little sister scientist, whatever, but is a true ruler and should be challenged in the traditional sense as well. I kind of saw it that way, a little like tongue in cheek, but also I don't know how serious he is. But, you know, it's always fun.
Ellice: Just to clarify - was Shuri at that event? I thought she wasn't there.
Dr. Joy: She wasn't, no she wasn’t. That's why I'm saying, like I don't know if she sent him. Yeah, I felt like she sent him in her place. She was going to Haiti to reconnect with Nakia and kind of make peace with her grief, and she sent him. That's what I was imagining, so that it was like a comic relief. Not that he was actually going to be kind of taking over. But I've seen some people speculate that it's going to be like a splitting of duties, where he is going to be the king of Wakanda and she will be the Black Panther.
Cindy: I like that.
Fredia: M’Baku is definitely the rightful next leader of Wakanda, I think it makes sense. I think he's done a lot for the nation and it's clear that he is a good leader, but also still has love. Because I think a lot of good leaders aren’t just like seeking control and power, but I think he really has love for the people. And also, consistently, he could really only protect his own tribe and his own people but has done more than that. But then also, Shuri’s young and has a lot of life to live ahead of her and so being in the position where you're the leader of an entire nation, that's a lot. I know I wouldn't want to be CEO at 25 or 24. It sounds good, but dealing with a lot of grief, probably wanting to work on her own technological advances, just being young and fun, I don't know if that's really all she wants to get into. And so I think she trusts M’Baku and respects him and so I think that's a great setup for the future of Wakanda.
Dr. Joy: That's a good point. How do people feel seeing Michael B. Jordan pop up in the film when Shuri arrives to the ancestral plane?
Ellice: I knew it wasn't going to be what she expected, just because I guess my thought process there was like, oh, people always talk about genetically modified things. I was like, oh, they're definitely gonna throw in something going wrong with that. And so she had her GMO purple herb and he popped up. I think, like I said earlier, it was very reflective of the types of emotions and thoughts and traumas you can tap into when grief happens. A big part of the grief she was experiencing, Killmonger played a role in that and so I think it was very natural and I wasn't too surprised that he came up. I was like, okay, this definitely makes sense. I think he challenged her thinking. I think he was right, like maybe your brother was a bit too noble. That wasn't a bad thing but I think it kind of demystified and showed her a new light to that situation.
I think grief is so complicated and in death we can view people as very perfect or be very angry with them. And I think after that looked at Killmonger in a different way because she to a degree took his advice, but also looked at T’Challah in a different way. I was happy that they brought him back into the movie because I think in the first Black Panther, he played devil's advocate a lot but also (I don't want to say made very good points) there was like an aggression to him. What's the best word to say? A drive that I think was representative of the type of leader Shuri wanted to be in that moment. I think that's why she connected with him in that moment. I think her going to the ancestral plane and seeing him kind of told her, “I have so many ways I can react right now, there are so many ways I can be a leader. I obviously look up to my mother, I obviously look up to my brother, I have people around me, but this is someone who I've always viewed as an enemy who's providing me with a different perspective.” I don't think he was necessarily right or wrong. I think he was just there to show Shuri a different version of reality than what she had looked at for so long, pre the grief of losing her mom and losing her brother.
Cindy: Yeah, I was shocked. But I also was like, that kind of makes sense. Because, in a way, Killmonger was so relentless. And to be honest, Shuri is a relentless girl. She literally was like, I'm gonna crack the code on this purple heart shaped herb, I'm doing it, I'm literally not losing any sleep over it. I will make sure that I'm able to save whoever I need to save. And so to Ellice’s point, that drive that ambition, all of those things exist within her and so it's not surprising that the person that appeared to her is somebody who is sort of that same reflection, just like in a different package and different foil and on a different mission. And so I think it did allow her to sort of confront the parts of her that she probably kind of hid from her family a little bit, just because her mom, T’Challah, T’Chaka, they were all a little more even-keeled and diplomatic, noble, all of those things. I feel like she probably respected it, and in certain situations that's what she would choose. But at the same time, you can't deny that there's a drive in there and there's a heat that radiates from her that I think that was exactly the right choice for her to see in the ancestral plane. It's not to say that nobody else is gonna pop up later, but I think it's her first encounter. I was like, good, because I also was like, who knows who you're supposed to see there? Because there are other family members we don't really know so, I don't know, it could have been Sterling K. Brown. Like we don't know.
Fredia: Well, team, as you know, I'm from the Bay Area so I was shocked to see Killmonger because the Bay Area girl in me said that he was still alive. So to see him in the ancestral plane meant that he's not and that's not what we wanted at all. We want him alive. Okay, so he's in the ancestral plane. I also want to say what I enjoyed about Killmonger’s conversation with Shuri is that I feel he was the second person to tell her that you can no longer really navigate as a child and you need to adjust your eyes from childhood to adulthood. The first person who I noticed said this to her was M'Baku. He said something along the lines of “I can't pretend like you're a child anymore. You've experienced too much loss.” I feel like Killmonger the same way, “You think that I'm evil, you're so mad that I'm here, add some nuance to your perspective. Add some gray to your black and white because being a child is not going to save you anymore.” And I feel like a lot of her continued aggression towards him in that scene was because it's so hard when someone tells you you don't have a choice to grow up; you must, you have to. That scene just made me think about, wow, how long do black kids get to be kids before they experience so much trauma that they literally have to adjust their eyes to be adults?
Dr. Joy: Very good point. More from our conversation after the break.
Dr. Joy: To your earlier point, Fredia, the three words that you chose. A part of the tension that I found very difficult, and I was wondering going into this movie. Okay, what is going to be the storyline? I would imagine, and I hope we get a cut at some point of what was supposed to be the storyline before we lost Chadwick and then how they had to rewrite. What felt difficult to me was these two communities of color having to have this tension that was created by white people. The FBI, whatever this government entity was that went and had this initial encounter with the people of Talokan and then the people of Talokan thinking it was the Wakandans. And so this feud is created when it really had nothing to do with either of them beefing with one another. What were your thoughts around this introduction of the Talokan people, and this is how we now meet them because we are going to war with the Wakandan?
Fredia: Going back to being from the Bay Area, once again. If Killmonger was alive, I feel like Killmonger and Namor would have really just roughed him up and I think we all know what I'm talking about. At this point, we've had two movies talking about a certain demographic of people causing problems, but we've never fought them on camera. Now, the little Black Panther in me, (because my grandma was a Black Panther) the little Black Panther in me is thinking - is Marvel ever really gonna let us throw hands with white people on the screen?
Ellice: I also was thinking about, okay, what will the next movie bring? Given that we've seen internal conflict with Wakanda, now conflict between them and an indigenous nation, and the big elephant in the room is that it's the white people causing a lot of these problems. And so at the end of the movie, we see King Namor talk about how when either they attack the US, France, whatever, or if they come for them… Because we saw in the opening scene, they've detected vibranium in the ocean. That there will be no choice but Wakanda to be on their side because of all the events in the movie. And so I was thinking about that because it was interesting that he said that in the middle of the movie. When we are first introduced with him, he was like my goal is to get you guys on our side because we're the oppressed people and we're stronger together. But towards the end, he kind of had a malicious tone to what he said. And so I was just constantly thinking about how, yes, it was initially very smart and it would have been great if they would have joined forces, but it seemed like… I forgot the name of the kingdom, I keep forgetting it. The Talokan, King Namor was very interested in retaliating, kind of taking over and having power. Instead of Shuri, I feel like, is more about having peace and unity. And so I'm excited for the next movie to see that tension kind of play out, knowing that they now have an alliance but their alliance is, I guess, being approached from different perspectives, yet they have a common enemy. And so how that will all play out. Yeah, I think that's going to be probably very interesting in Black Panther 3 if we get it. I hope we'll get it. But I think something that I'm kind of looking forward to is the series finally addressing the real enemy, the people who want the Wakandan resources and want indigenous resources, and that's what it's always been. But I think they're kind of teasing that out little by little and so I think we got kind of a more profound take on that in this movie.
Dr. Joy: Yeah, and shout out to just the brilliance of Ryan Coogler because I feel like he is one of the only ones who really could have done this with justice. I don't know that we are going to ever see that, though, in a Disney-owned Marvel movie. I don't know. I don't know how far he's gonna be allowed to kind of push the needle there. I know we are running out of time so I definitely want to make sure that we do spend some time thinking about the ending of the movie because that is when… I was losing it all throughout but once that baby showed up on screen and we find out that… Something in my mind, I feel like this is the Louisiana kind of like “always keep your third eye open.” Something in my mind early on said “I bet Nakia had a baby. I bet that that is a part of why she was away.” And so we learn that she was expecting and the Black Panther knew about it before he passed and that they had been in conversation with the child to kind of prepare him for his father's death. How did you feel about the reveal of a new Prince T’Challah?
Cindy: I was obsessed with that, and similar to you, I think what like keyed me in was like, girl, you didn't go back for the funeral? I get it but like… And then thinking about the timeline of that. Man, if she showed up at that funeral pregnant! I was like, you know what, great. And then when it was revealed and truly solidified too, I was just like this makes me so happy. Because it was also like this parting gift almost, because it's like now Shuri once again has family in the very real sense that she was missing it. And now in a way, yeah, she's an aunt but she gets to also be this like mentor and impart all the wisdom her brother gave her, her dad, her mom. And like there's somewhere for that to go. And he's so cute. It was just like such a sweet moment, especially having followed the ritual of her finally releasing the grief and burning the clothes. I think it was just like a very poetic way to receive that. It was almost as if now she's finally ready for a new beginning and the new beginning, literally was like I'm right here. And so I thought that was beautiful. This whole movie was just really, really poetic to me.
Dr. Joy: We've already kind of touched a little bit on predictions for what we might see in a Black Panther 3 or as we continue with the Wakanda universe. What are you thinking that we might see in a future film or in future films? Or hoping that we might see.
Ellice: I don't know if I necessarily trust them to go completely at colonization. I feel like they're gonna do the thing where they jump and now it's like everybody against the aliens or whatever. They're gonna take it to space, they're gonna take it to the nano or quantum realm or something. Just because I don't know if people are truly ready to see that. Maybe they will be by the time it's ready, but I don't know, I don't have a lot of faith in that. But I do think that there will be some type of seeing what that alliance looks like, between Talokan and Wakanda.
Dr. Joy: I'm hoping that we actually do get to see Little Prince T’Challa grow up, this particular child himself, grow up in the Marvel Universe. Because I just think that that, like you said, is an awesome kind of parting gift. And for the people who were worried that we would not have the Black Panther character again because of what that character meant for black kids, seeing themselves as superheroes, I do think it gives us a new start. That in addition to Shuri. To me, it kind of ensures the longevity of the character, which I think is really cool. I'm hoping that we will see that little guy grow up in the Marvel Universe.
Fredia: I can't see a movie for Black Panther that doesn't involve scoring up with colonizer so I don't think I'm gonna get one. I also think Ryan Coogler has done a phenomenal job on both of these films and it might be time for him to, rightfully so, get the rest and space that he deserves after all of this hard work he's done and all the grieving that he and the entire cast are still going through. Because when you watch every press tour, people keep asking them about how did you find out about Chadwick? And what was your reaction? And if you have to do 10 interviews a day over the course of two weeks, just constantly reprocessing that grief… As a fan of this franchise, I would understand if I didn't get another movie for 15 years. I would understand.
With that being said, there are other characters that I'm very excited about. I did learn that Proximity Media, which is Ryan Coogler and his wife Zinzi’s production company, they are in development for a series around the woman that Ellice was talking about earlier. Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. I had no idea until I looked this up that that suit that she's in, she's truly in MCU. I'm new, I'm just learning about MCU. So I'm so excited about that and I feel like this film introducing me to her and her character is enough. Which is why I can go X amount of years without another movie. Give me all the Ironheart you got because, like Ellice said, she's a star. She's a star, I can't wait to watch her on television or the big screen again.
Cindy: I want to second seeing Ironheart/ Riri Williams in other films, whether it's the next Black Panther and also having her own series. That's exciting for me. I think what's also exciting is seeing how in future Black Panther films or whatever comic books that come out, TV shows, how they incorporate other African countries. They kind of allude to it in the scenes, like oh, we're gonna go here. I think they were in Mali for one of the scenes. But we never really get to see their leaders and how they interact with and think about Wakanda and so that's really exciting for me. I hope that in the next movie, if they address more world conflicts or global conflicts, that we get to see another perspective of the African diaspora. So I think that'll be exciting.
Dr. Joy: I love that idea, too. We will be staying tuned for all of the genius that continues to come from Ryan Coogler’s camp. Again, another beautiful job from Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler, I believe. The set designer and the costume designer, just beautiful worlds that they create and the people look beautiful on screen. So just kudos to all of them for another outstanding job with Black Panther 2.
All right, y’all. Thank you all for joining me and sharing your thoughts. Y'all weigh in, make sure you let us know how you felt about Black Panther 2. What were your thoughts? What’s staying with you? We will be joining the conversation online.
I'm so glad the team was able to join me to chat about Wakanda Forever. We'd love to hear your thoughts about the film as well. Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #TBGinSession and weighing in. And don't forget to text two of your girls to tell them to check out the episode right now. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, check out our therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory. And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis, and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.