Black Panther Pre-Review

Black Panther breaks stereotypes because it shows a prince from Africa who cares about his people while still being hip and with the times. He also is athletic and down to earth with an incredible sense of style. He is dressed in a black suit when fighting the crimes of the evil people who want to ruin his country, Wakanda. A country that is self sufficient and respectful of other nations in addition to being a player on the world stage. Vibranium is a mineral that can only be found in Wakanda and is referenced in other Marvel comics and movies like Iron Man and Captain America. Tony Stark’s high tech inventions and Captain America’s shield rely on the technology and natural minerals found in Wakanda, it is written as a country that gives and does not care about power plays because they have real strength. They make and build everything themselves and are advanced in the medical field as well. They are also highly educated and spiritual, so they have a world view that is rooted in their experience but understanding of others. It’s a country that continues to evolve and find new ways to be peaceful and attractive.

The soundtrack of Black Panther has an interesting album cover. The background of the cover is black with metal claws on top. The claws show protection and are non threatening because they are not pointed at anyone. It’s as though they frame the continent of Africa with protection; calm strength but no fighting is what seems to be conveyed. I went to SCAD with the artist who came up with the poster and he likes to make subtle statements that say a lot. I am guessing that this is what Nikolas Draper Ivy was going for when he made the album cover. His work is all over the internet but not a lot of people know about him. He does a lot of illustrations from his home in New York as a freelancer, but has gained a good following on social media. Usually the characters he draws stand out at you and seem to be rushing out of the paper to do something amazing. He draws superheroes who are smart and ready to take on anything. They are ethic in origin most of the time, which is probably one of the reasons he supports Black Panther. Nikolas wants to show that anyone can do good things and be a hero with style.

Nikolas’s work has been influenced by his friends and peers at SCAD. One of them is the designer Sasha Williams who lives and works in New York. Her clothes are stylish and fierce as well. They show strength and a love of fashion that is accessible to everyone, she wants people to feel good in the clothes they wear and her products certainly deliver. Nikolas’s work can be viewed on line at: Whereas Sasha’s work can be viewed on her website:

Nikolas’s album cover work goes well with the soundtrack to Black Panther. It’s common that the music of a movie supports its artwork and vice versa. The soundtrack shows the same power, fairness, and humility as the artwork of the movie.  The song “Pray for Me” by The Weekend and Kendrick Lamar has techno beats but calm music in the background. The lyrics are sung in a soft voice that isn’t pretentious. It reflects people who live with silent internal strength and kindness just like the citizens of Wakanda and the Black Panther.

Nikolas has also made another poster for Black Panther that can be seen at #Wakandaforever. He has other drawings posted on his page as well, but the poster shows all the characters from the movie in vivid colors that are not over the top. Natural confidence that does not override humanity and has a lot of swag. Black Panther is shown as a prince and again as the martial arts crime fighting superhero. This poster goes well with the song “SZA All Starz” because they are both about being proud and grateful. They also bring to life the concept of community and being happy because of accomplishments that bring peace to one’s world. The song is about all the stars and not just one, which shows that real success is about being able to stave off dark forces and egos.

The trailers I’ve seen for this movie are made to build up anticipation. The soundtrack is wonderfully mixed with amazing singers, rappers, and lyrics. The artwork makes viewers stand back to take in its vibrancy and subtle relevance. Black Panther is about people being judged by their character and not their race or ethnicity. The actors in this movie are from different backgrounds but they all exemplify down to earth resilience that we all want to live by. I cannot wait to see this movie.

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