Wakanda Forever | From a Unique lens
Wakanda forever was a deeper more emotive film than the first. It had in way more nuance and better acting than the first. However, we are a clothing company and our primary discussion has to be about costumes— and they were (with a few exceptions of the Queen's attire and the Mesoamericans) horrendous. There is no way as a company that designs clothes that we can look at the costumes designed for Wakanda Forever and recognize any talent.
What they could have done, if they were serious, was get Ocacia, designers from Ethiopia (like Soultrader), some of the top Nigerian fashion houses, our boy Tavis designs in Ghana all to contribute something our designs to the film. Maybe 5 per company! But the people who were hired to make this film do not have that mentality! And that is why they got hired by Marvel executives. They are not aware of this kind of thinking. It is ultimately a film about brown people vs black people with small moments where it sends out a strong message. But while France fell under their knife America never has and never will. Because it is an American film, using Africa like Disney has theme parks.
If Wakanda is your entry to Africa then good, If Wakanda is your Africa then I feel very sorry for you.
But instead, they resorted to the cheap Chinese dashiki we find in the market was used for the stand-ins. Clearly, not much went into it. And we kind of understand why. It is the same issue with the ethnographic issue in the film. These films are not made by people who actually understand Africa. They probably Google "African tribes" and grab bits and pieces that look "cool". And many Africans from the continent have observed this as well. But then again what do you expect if it is a popcorn cinema? That is not really its mission. They have this guy with a lip plate, which is pulled from the Mursi of Ethiopia, and another from the Hamer. And the clothes were the same.
The music was done by a guy from Sweden that does not have a clue about African music and you can hear it. And that is the entire approach to the project. Very shallow. The best costumes were the MesoAmerican people. If the people behind Wakanda forever were serious about African attire they would have engaged serious African designers, like us, to assist in this regard. People who actually design clothes while understanding the cultural significance of the clothes. But they will not do that, because Wakanda is unfortunately a White-owned project that creates wealth ( a lot of it) for Africans as a distant 3rd priority. It is still a project to extend their control over us and control our worldview. If you are smart enough you can circumvent that and take more from the story than they want to show you. But the total decline in sales of our clothes compared to the first tells of some deeper problem. The connection was not made this time around. Dressing African was not the fad this time around. Many factors would have had to take place to make it so, but all we can cite is our imperial sales projections during October and November vs the last time Black Panther was released. But then again we have seen something with Kwanzaa and especially Black History Month.
The level of authenticity is not what shines in this film. It was created for other reasons. Some Hollywood films go to the ends of the Earth to represent things better but at the end of the day it is a Marvel fun movie and I do not think we should expect more from it.
Wakanda Forever was very different from Black Panther for us. And what I am about to write probably is a perspective you could never read anywhere else in the world. It is not a review of a film it is a lens on a film from the window of an African designer clothing label. The first Black Panther we realized was going to be a hit when it was announced and I think we were the first to offer clothes to match the Black Panther theme (and then everyone jumped on the bandwagon) But our sales went to places we have never seen before in the history of our company. We had so many sales that we drained the entire Durban area of the fabric we used for black panther. Over 100 rolls of fabric. Had this continued we would have been able to open small stores internationally. Yes, it was that good. We employed so many people and created a lot of local wealth. So the discussion of the economic power of buying our own is settled. The issue of "affording" has been settled since everyone from all backgrounds afforded our bespoke clothes. All because a White-owned film showed a dignified image of African people. So imagine the possibilities if we could one day own the entire production.
Now when it came to Wakanda Forever, not one single iota of sales increase. DEAD! We could not even take inspiration from the film to create one single signature design. Yet the first film we produced 5.
As stated this is a review that you would never see anywhere on Earth because there can be film reviews of films, they can be economic reviews of films, they can even be environmental reviews of a film (such as Jaws), or a sociological review of a film like Matrix or Clockwork Orange, or a scientific review like 2001: A Space OdysseyA film has an impact way beyond the actual cinema experience and we decided to share our “review.”
BEYOND THE CLOTHES
WE DO NOT HAVE A WAKANDA
But I also have to chastise people in Africa who say "That is not what Africa looks like" guys we are in NO POSITION to discuss what Africa looks like. B/c if Africa today looked like Wakanda then we would at least be 1/2 way there! B serious now. What Africa looks like right now is like Southern Europe! The languages which dominate the business of Africa are almost never African languages. So this has to be said to those hardliners. If Africa looked like Wakanda then they would be an Ocacia shop in every African city.