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All Revved Up: The Cultural Significance Of 'Black Panther'

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This image released by Disney -Marvel Studios shows, from left, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o and Florence Kasumba in a scene from "Black Panther."
Matt Kennedy/Disney/Marvel Studios via AP
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After two record-setting weeks at the top of the box office, Marvel’s "Black Panther" has already become a cultural touchstone for its celebration of African culture and its portrayal of strong black men and women.

Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett Price are among the many critics and fans that have praised the film's representation of African culture. They joined Boston Public Radio Monday for another edition of All Revved up to discuss what the movie gets right and the importance of inclusiveness  in popular culture.

Both Price and Monroe said they loved the movie, specifically the way the film mixes African history with the mythology of the "Black Panther" comic book.

“It reimagines Africa the continent and the African people, but I think it does more than that. It actually gives you a sense of the historical notion and importance of the continent,” Price said. “Africa has always had a significant place in terms of art, science, technology … I mean, just phenomenal.”

In addition, the reverends enjoyed how the film’s depiction of the fictionalized African nation of Wakanda shows what Africa could have been like had it never been colonized.

“['Black Panther'] really showed what an uncolonized African cosmology would actually look like,” Monroe said.

Price believes that while not everyone may understand all of the cultural references, he does believe that the film still has the power to make a cross-cultural impact.

“Will everybody pick up on the storyline and the narrative? I’m not so sure. That’s a challenge where repetition is important, where you see these things more and more and more, and it refrains what you think, what you believe, and how you see people,” Price said.  

Emmett G. Price III is a Professor and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Irene Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist and the Boston voice for Detour’s African-American Heritage Trail. To listen to the full “All Revved Up” segment, click on the audio player above.

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