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Wakanda Forever’s Winston Duke Says Black Women Have Always Been The Series’ Center

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Marvel Cinematic Universe newcomer Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira and Dominique Thorne, who plays Riri “Ironheart” Williams in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, spoke to Ebony ahead of the film’s release. During the chat, Duke himself explained that black women are the focus of the Black Panther series. “The first film featured two black male characters. But the women were always the ones trying to pick up the pieces,” he said, explaining that characters like Okoye and Nakia have to do the dirty work and make big sacrifices for Wakanda in the process.

Simply put, without the women of Wakanda, the Black Panther franchise just wouldn’t work. Surely director Ryan Coogler would be inclined to agree. After all, he was pretty excited about telling a superhero story from a female, maternal perspective, as evidenced by his November 11, 2022 comments on Hollywood Outbreak. “It was amazing to be able to tell a story about motherhood, among other things… it was exciting to approach the superhero genre from that vantage point,” he said, particularly about Queen Ramonda’s journey in Wakanda Forever, where she tries to keep herself and her family together against all odds.

Unfortunately, it’s not common for women to take center stage in a blockbuster, let alone black women. In that regard, Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are a breath of fresh air – deservedly acclaimed at that. One can only hope that black women will continue to hold a prominent place in the MCU as phase five begins.



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