'Black Panther' Is Coming To The Smithsonian As The Film Continues To Solidify Its Place In History
Despite its release being more than four months ago, the Black Panther film continues to make headlines for its contributions to both entertainment and black culture. To further recognize its significance in entertainment history, Black Panther has become part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, according to The Verge.
The outlet reports that the Smithsonian Museum recently acquired a collection of paraphernalia from the critically-acclaimed Marvel Cinematic Universe film including the costume worn by Chadwick Boseman in the movie, a copy of the shooting script signed by the film's director Ryan Coogler, two pages from a spec script, as well as 24 photographs documenting the project's filmmaking process.
Black Panther aka King T'Challa's (played by Boseman) impressive costume was designed by Academy Award designer Ruth E. Carter, who has also lent her talents to notable works such as Amistad, Selma, and The Butler. The Smithsonian Magazine website notes that Carter's version of the Panther costume is an adaptation of Judianna Makovsky and Ryan Meinerding's original version which was used by the superhero in Captain America: Civil War.
In an interview with NPR, Carter detailed her mission to create the perfect look for the Wakandan King. She explained that she wanted to create a look "of brilliance, royalty, intrigue." Carter continued by saying, "I feel that you can tell a story through clothing."
One of Carter's many upgrades to the Panther costume is the fabric's triangle patterned outer layer. In her discussion with NPR, Carter explained,
"That triangle is the sacred geometry of Africa. I call that pattern the 'Okavango' pattern. I felt that it made his suit have this character that would, in the wide shots, make him this superhero but in the close-up, you see this beautiful pattern that is consistent with a lot of the art of Africa and would turn him into this African king."
The costume and other artifacts will reportedly appear in conjunction with the museum's first Smithsonian African American Film Festival this upcoming October which ScreenRant reveals will be focused on celebrating African American visual culture and film.
Rhea Combs, a curator at the African American History Museum specializing in film, shared her thoughts on the upcoming exhibit. Per Smithsonian Magazine, she explained:
“I think the film presented notions of African regality, dignity, modernity and respect for culture and tradition that many people felt proud to see represented onscreen.”
Combs also shed light on the importance of making the display's debut during the museum's inaugural film showcase. She continued,
“The film festival is as much about celebrating and honoring the past as it is about recognizing and representing the promise of tomorrow – which is precisely what Black Panther represented as well.”
As one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, Black Panther, which was deservedly noted for its intriguing storyline and prolific messages, became one of the most viewed movies of 2018, breaking box office records with every week it spent in the theaters.
It is also notably the top-grossing film featuring an African-American director, with Coogler guiding a predominantly black cast featuring the likes of Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, and Lupita Nyong’o. To date, Black Panther has grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide, becoming the number one movie of the year, thus far, according to Box Office Mojo. The outlet also points out that the movie currently stands as the third highest grossing domestic film of all time.
While fans patiently await more details about Black Panther's highly-anticipated sequel, a trip to the Smithsonian exhibit could be just the thing to hold you over.