The future of the past: imagi(ni)ng black womanhood, Africana womanism and Afrofuturism in Black Panther

  • Rosemary Chikafa-Chipiro Department of English and Media Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Keywords: Black Panther, representation;, Africana womanism, Afrofuturism, black womanhood, Africa


Since its release, Black Panther (Coogler 2018) has proven to be a phenomenal black cultural text on so many levels. The film has revitalised discourses on Afrofuturism, owing to the fact that the black themes it raises reconfigure representations of black lives and history that have mainly been steeped in normative western categorisations. Black Panther) has also proven to be phenomenal in its representation of black womanhood which, I would like to argue, engenders intimate convergences with the film’s Afrofuturistic thrust. In other words, Black Panther’s Afrofuturistic re-imagi(ni)ng of black womanhood is Africana womanist-centric. Black women from Africa and the African diaspora are presented as an imagined community – they have a shared history of imperial and patriarchal domination among other forms of othering. Their representation is a return to the source of sorts which recalls African women warriors who have been celebrated in the African past but seem to have lost the significance of their prowess over time but still have prospects in a re-invented Africa. Thus, in this paper I seek to make a theoretical case for Africana womanism in the Afrofuturistic context presented by Black Panther.