When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered on October 26, 2022, black and brown people everywhere were excited.
The film promised to focus on blackness in a way that we don’t often get to see in media. Many expected the premiere to feature black actors and content creators and to honor the late Chadwick Boseman in a way that was special to black people.
But then, there were whispers. Whispers about how this premiere, which was a celebration of blackness, was going to be lacking black creators.
The day of the premiere came and, while it had a lot of black actors and black male content creators, it seemingly lacked many prominent black female creators and influencers.
Quickly, black female creators took to social media to tell their side of the story.
Writer Karama Horne, aka @theblerdgurl, made a post about how, despite writing a Black Panther book that became canon, she wasn’t invited to the premiere of Wakanda Forever. Despite feeling shorted, however, she made it clear she was still grateful for the opportunity, using the popular “win-win” audio.
TikToker, Amanda Castrillo, aka @amandajustvibin, is a popular creator who specializes in nerdy content. She’s become known for being a fun black nerd and talks about all things Marvel, TV, and blackness. Though she only has about 308K followers, she’s beloved in the black nerd community.
Despite her popularity, Amanda was only invited to the premiere hours before the event. She posted a video under the same “win-win” sound, saying that she was just grateful to be there.
@amandajustvibin THE YASSIFICATION IS OOOOOOOOON #wakandaforever #blackpanther #blackpantherwakandaforever ♬ A WIN IS A WIN – CLIFFORD
But not everyone shared that same gratitude. NYC actor Nicque Marina, aka @nicquemarina, is known as a Marvel TikToker and often shares her love of the franchise with her 1.6 million followers. However, she was quick to let her followers know how hurt she was not to be invited to the premiere when black men and white people with smaller followings were allowed to be there. In a video, she said,
“We’re reminded that the only thing… that’s not allowing us to get those same opportunities is the fact that we’re black women.”
Despite such prominent black women being left out of the Wakanda Forever premiere, there is little to no public backlash. Black women have to work four times harder to even be invited to a premier that celebrates black womanhood. The movie portrays black women as whole people — something that we are not often afforded. Yet, we are not allowed in those spaces that are meant to represent us.
Why is it that we can bring companies like Marvel views and money, and yet we’re still not allowed to enjoy the spotlight and the fruits of our labor?
And while many black female content creators are happy just to be invited, or to have their words used for people like them to see, we deserve better. We shouldn’t be given scraps and last-minute invitations and be expected to be happy about it. Black women are such an important part of Wakanda Forever, especially since it highlighted the next Black Panther as Shuri Williams and the next Iron Heart (Tony Stark’s replacement). Marvel knows that black women are important and valuable when it comes to making money for them. But when it’s time to show the respect we deserve, they instead expected us to just be happy to be thought of.
How long do black women have to be okay with being an afterthought? How long do we have to fight harder to be seen, just to be ignored by our peers and those that we bring content for? The culture that so many people are profiting off of would not exist without black women. They are long overdue for their spotlight. When will they no longer be an afterthought?