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Black Panther's African Roots Reading List

Black Panther’s African Roots

Like the rest of the MCU (Marvel Comics Universe), the setting of the Black Panther movie is a fictitious city, namely Wakanda. And although Wakanda isn’t real, the film’s artists did base many of the sets and costumes on real African countries.

Black Panther Official Movie Poster

Image copyright by Walt Disney Studios, 2018.

Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther’s costume designer, drew inspiration from the Dogon, the Turkana, the Hemba, the Suri tribe, and the Tuareg people.  Carter based jewelry and costume designs on the hand made neck rings worn by Ndebele women and African kente cloth. She was also inspired by Zulu hats and Nigerian chiefs when designing the look of the Queen’s and shaman’s costumes.

If you’re gearing up to watch the film or have already seen it and want to learn more about the cultures which inspired the film, check out some of these books.

Dogon: Africa’s People of the Cliffs

Spirits Embodied: Art of the Congo

Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa

Art of Being Tuareg

Ndebele: The Art of an African Tribe

Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity

Speaking with Beads: Zulu Arts from Southern Africa

The Birth of Art in Africa: Nok Statuary in Nigeria



African Superhero: How we made Black Panther, Chris Giles, CNN, 2/16/2018.

Black Panther Costume Designer Talks Creating a Wardrobe for a King, Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool, 1/29/2018.


Image copyright by Walt Disney Studios, 2018.

One response to “Black Panther’s African Roots”

  1. Edwin Devilas says:

    I just watched the movie and its amazing. I mostly just amazed by how much research on culture the people behind the film do. And then to incorporate the heroism and movie aspect into. It just blends all so well!

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