When Black Panther made its debut earlier this year in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we got a look not only at the kingdom of Wakanda but at the people who hold it together and make it one of the most interesting and affluent places in that universe. Although King T’Challa may be a bit of a show stealer, because he’s also the Black Panther, you can’t forget about the women of Wakanda that are leaders and powerhouses in their own right.
Just look at the Dora Milaje, for instance. They are the fierce king’s guard that keep him and the crown safe and are always willing to go to war when necessary. As seen above in some recently released concept art from the film, we get a look at that intense spirit that is embodied in all members of the Dora.
In a recent interview with /Film, a few of the actresses from the film got together to elaborate on what it was like to represent women in such a way on this project…
Lupita Nyong’o said, “I love the way Black Panther represents women. Each and every one of us [in the movie] is an individual. We all have our own sense of power and we hold our own space without being pitted against each other. I think that’s a very, very powerful message to send to children – both male and female.”
Danai Gurira who plays Okoye added the following in regards to her role as the leader of such an intense group of female warriors:
“I was immediately drawn to the idea of the Dora Milaje [an all-female, special forces security team]. I loved the concept of them, but it was incredible to see them come to life [during pre-production]. I started to train with all these astounding women and then we all started to get our heads shaved for the movie. I was the first to have it done, but then all the girls started coming in with no hair. One-by-one, we’d all been balded – but we were united together. That’s when our pride started to grow. We all started to embrace this symbol of power in these women.”
“I think it’s great to see so many strong women in Black Panther because there’s a lack of them in cinema right now; especially black female characters,” said Letitia Wright. “All these female characters in the movie are really well rounded, too. They are not just written one way. The women have a lot of complexity. It was really refreshing to see and it’s inspiring to be part of it because it means a lot to me.”