January 30, 2018 / 11:02 PM / 4 months ago

'Black Panther' stars on importance of African culture in Marvel film

LOS ANGELES, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The stars of “Black Panther” dressed in their finest African-inspired royal attire and spoke about the importance of representing a black superhero story on screen at the premiere of the new film from Walt Disney Co’s Marvel Entertainment.

Chadwick Boseman, who plays T’Challa, the titular hero and king of fictional African nation Wakanda, led his co-stars including Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira and Angela Bassett, on the purple carpet on Monday.

“Something like Marvel has a way of really affecting popular culture, and to have that popular culture informed with things that are of African origin and people knowing they are of African origin ... is powerful,” Nyong’o, who plays warrior Nakia, told Reuters.

“Hopefully it changes the general idea of what being an African is. Too often times we see Africa as a place that is wanting and here it’s a place that you want to go,” she said.

The Oscar-winning actress matched the purple carpet in an amethyst-hued Versace gown with gold-detailed shoulders and belt. Gurira wore a bright pink Viktor & Rolf dress with a dramatic shoulder ruffle, and Bassett opted for a golden yellow Naeem Khan fringe jumpsuit.

The men also served up colorful looks. Boseman rocked a gilded print Emporio Armani suit, actor Donald Glover opted for a tangerine Dolce & Gabbana suit, and the film’s director, Ryan Coogler, added a printed scarf to his black Ikire Jones suit, a Philadelphia label that draws from West African influences.

“Black Panther,” out in theaters on Feb. 16, earned rave early reactions from attendees at the premiere, including “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, who praised the film as an “extraordinary work.”

“It’s just filled with so much talent, so much beauty, the aesthetic of it is so pleasing and so black and Afro-centric and African and modern and worldly and futuristic. You know, it’s got a lot of swag. This movie is on fire,” said Bassett, who plays T’Challa’s mother. (Reporting by Rollo Ross for Reuters TV; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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