On Tuesday (February 27), the dope folks at The Apollo—in collaboration with The Atlantic and Afropunk—brought the exciting world of Wakanda to the historic landmark theater. It was an evening filled with introspective convo and unapologetic Blackness (shout out to the Howard University crowd in full affect) as Ta-Nehisi Coates got candid with Black Panther‘s Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o. CASSIUS was there to capture the magic. Click through to relive some of the evening’s top moments.
1. Black Panther in Conversation at The ApolloSource:The Apollo Theater
Chadwick Boseman said he signed on to ‘Black Panther’ before Ryan Coogler was in the picture. In fact, the film was a totally different entity than the one fans fell in love with during premiere week.
2. Black Panther in Conversation at The ApolloSource:The Apollo Theater
When asked by Ta-Nehisi how she and Danai Gurira executed the harmony in Nakia and Okoye’s relationship, Lupita revealed that she and Danai have actually known each other for 11 years. ‘Black Panther’ was the first time they worked on a film together, however. Their onscreen chemistry was cultivated through a shared advocacy for “the female perspective.”
3. Black Panther in Conversation at The ApolloSource:The Apollo Theater
Lupita shared that she “couldn’t believe” Marvel greenlit a film as “radical” as ‘Black Panther,’ and was ecstatic to be a part of a project where women are portrayed as equals to men.
4. Black Panther in Conversation at The ApolloSource:The Apollo Theater
Chadwick compared T’Challa’s internal struggle to that of Hamlet or Shakespeare—how does one lead in a time of challenge and turmoil?
5. Black Panther in ConversationSource:The Apollo Theater
Lupita praised the film’s vision for “justly expressing” both the African and African-American identities simultaneously. She found this to be incredibly “healing.”
6. Black Panther in ConversationSource:The Apollo Theater
At one point, Chadwick challenged the audience to consider whether or not we’d accept T’Challa if it weren’t for the existence of Killmonger. He suggests that, while Killmonger is presented as a “villain,” his character also represents the general (and relatable) Black struggle. T’Challa, meanwhile, was “born with a vibranium spoon in his mouth.” Because of this privilege, he can only find his inner hero by connecting to what he has lost.
7. Black Panther in ConversationSource:The Apollo Theater
Chadwick expressed that he’s not sure what future movie projects will be like. For him, ‘Black Panther’ raised the bar in the way that Blackness was nurtured and prioritized on set.
8. Black Panther in ConversationSource:The Apollo Theater
Lupita gushed about the sense of familiarity and camaraderie that Pan Africanism brought to the set. At one point, she says, the entire cast from all corners of the diaspora was dancing and rapping to Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”