Two words. That’s all it takes to bring people together, can unite, and instill pride in a nation and a culture. Wakanda, Forever! Why do those two words have such a profound impact on the people of Wakanda? The Psychology of Black Panther will explore this question and others while discussing social issues such as why cultural representation in media so vitally important.
Since the release of Black Panther in February 2018, the phrase, Wakanda, Forever! has taken on a life of its own. The character Black Panther first appeared in 1966 within the pages of Fantastic Four #52. During a time of much cultural violence. Black Panther was the first superhero of African descent, debuting years before Falcon, Luke Cage, or Blade.
Black Panther Psychology
Award-winning comic artist and co-editor Alex Simmons spoke about how much of an impact Black Panther had on his life. “I was around when the original comic book series came out, and so to me, seeing a black, costumed character prominent at that time was amazing. But here comes this character, so that was exciting. Simmons went on to say that Wakanda developed over the years into a black Camelot.” Simmons also contributed to the book, Black Panther Psychology which explores the depths of human nature.
There is no denying that there is a cultural shift going on in today’s world. The Black Lives Matter movement has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind recently, and for a good reason. Issues like police brutality, racism, micro-aggressions, and equal representation are all issues everyone must deal with. Reciting a phrase like Wakanda, Forever! reminds the people of Wakanda of their heritage despite the struggles they face each day.
Watch The Psychology of Black Panther at Comic-con@Home
Wakanda vs. America
Author and psychologist, Vanessa Hintz spoke about Black Panther’s nemesis Killmonger and what fueled his rage, his “angry black-man stage.” Hintz says, “what may have fueled his rage is the chronic racism growing up in America (N’Jadaka was born in Wakanda, but was exiled by T’Chaka and lived in Harlem, NY then changed his name to Erik Killmonger).
While living in Harlem, Killmonger experienced racism that didn’t exist in Wakanda. Facing racism every day of his life, he built up what Hintz called race-based stress, which can evolve into racial trauma. Hintz also explained that micro-aggressions are basically back-handed racist comments as opposed to overt racism. For example, despite her doctorate degree, Hintz still hears that she’s very articulate, which got raised eyebrows and moans across the panel.
This Sunday, July 26, • 3:00pm – 4:00pm PT— Wakanda, Forever! The Psychology of Black Panther with Scott Brown, Alex Simmons, Vanessa Hintz, Victor Dandridge, Daniel Jun Kim, Eric Wesselmann, and Stanford Carpenter will discuss the need for empathetic leadership, cultural representation, micro-aggressions, and the psychological issues addressed in Black Panther.
More to Come
This was an absolutely fascinating panel that is highly recommended to everyone. In an upcoming article for Skywalking Through Neverland, I will be listing and recommending more panels from SDCC2020 to watch, so look out for that in the coming days.