The long-awaited film Black Panther is getting the most royal, prestigious cover treatment in print today — gracing the classic TIME Magazine.
In a cover story by Jamil Smith titled The Revolutionary Power of Black Panther, he delves into an issue entirely more monumental than the film itself. He talks the history of Black representation in American media, politics, society, and the significance of “Black excellence” in the time of Donald Trump.
In the piece, he recounts the history of how the comic came to be and was an iconic piece of Afrofuturism born out of the Black Power movement.
“You might say that this African nation is fantasy,” Chadwick Boseman, who plays T’challa and graces the cover, said to TIME about the kingdom of Wakanda. “But to have the opportunity to pull from real ideas, real places and real African concepts, and put it inside of this idea of Wakanda — that’s a great opportunity to develop a sense of what that identity is, especially when you’re disconnected from it.”
In addition to tracing its origins, Smith focuses on the impact of a Black storyline existing now in comparison to those before it, such as Madea movies, the Barbershop franchise, or Get Out and Girls Trip. The film’s reception thus far has been incredible with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and could hit a weekend record for its opening weekend on President’s Day.
“I know people [in the entertainment industry] are going to see this and aspire to it,” Boseman said. “But this is also having people inside spaces — gatekeeper positions, people who can open doors and take that idea. How can this be done? How can we be represented in a way that is aspirational?”
You can read the rest of this incredible cover story here.