After attending the film’s premiere in Los Angeles, 18-year-old Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi penned an essay about Black Panther for The Hollywood Reporter. The actress continues to be show she’s how wise beyond her years as she shares her thoughts on Marvel’s upcoming film and everything it means to her, being a young black woman.
Shahidi writes in her guest essay, “To understand that a film like Black Panther is possible speaks to the bigger implication that we now have a movie that utilizes a predominately black cast securing the same press, the same funding, the same attention from the film studio, audiences and reporters alike left an impression on my soul.” She went into detail about the fact that Marvel and all superheroes have always been white without question, and the impact that had on black children who had nobody to look up to in those positions. She continues saying, “Superheroes, because of the history of a white aesthetic, have been very homogeneous—and with the creation of the world of Wakanda, a certain feeling washed over me, searching and finding the superhero in me.”
She then wraps up her essay by excitedly reporting the fact that her and her younger family members are lucky to grow up in an era where films like Black Panther are at the forefront of culture. She ends the essay with a powerful message that states: “Black Panther is breaking barriers as a movie and as a cultural moment; making me feel like I have permission to celebrate our diverse culture, while demonstrating to corporations and studios alike that our art is important and profitable. The success of this movie is undeniable, and I’m so fortunate that my younger brothers and I are growing up in the era of Black Panther — an era in which our blackness is not only being normalized but honored.”
The film doesn’t actually make it to theaters until February 16, but it’s already broken records for the most advanced ticket sales in 24 hours on Fandango and is projected to rake in $165 million on opening weekend. The film is on track to come in at No. 5 on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s all-time opening weekend’s list following The Avengers ($207.4 million), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.3 million), Captain America: Civil War ($179 million), and Iron Man 3 ($174 million).
You can read Yara Shahidi’s entire essay on the film here.