Durham arts: Exploring Marvel's 'Black Panther' this spring

DURHAM -- Black Panther is roaring its way through theaters, breaking records left and right for not only superhero movies but cinema in general.

Because of its primarily African-American cast and focus on an African superhero, it has become more than a movie for many fans. Or, as star Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther himself, said - it's a "movie-ment."

A group of Durham-based artists, scholars, organizations, and comic book fans has been working together since mid-2017 to get ready for the wave of Black Panther fandom.

On Saturday, February 24, at the American Tobacco Campus, this eclectic group kicked off their own local movement with "The Art of Wakanda," the first of five free events in the community-organized "Take Notes: The Black Panther Panel Discussion Series."

Attendees explored the gallery and then gathered in the Power Plant building theater for a two-part discussion between a showing of video clips and images.

The first part of the day was led by educators Jamila Davenport and Dr. Darrell Stover and Angel Dozier of Be Connected Durham, a local community arts organization.

Each speaker emphasized the movie as an opportunity to explore the history of the comic book and also the visual artistry of the movie's costumes, jewelry, and set design.

The second portion of the event allowed each of the featured local artists to share their art and current projects and also talk about how Black Panther and comics have influenced their creative work.

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The Art of Wakanda event included an artists' gallery featuring local Durham artists.

Audience members were able to ask questions of each artist, offer their own experience of viewing the film and reading the comics, and learn more about what the local Durham art scene has to offer.

The Take Notes series will span six weeks in Durham and each talk will rotate to a new site, which gives attendees an opportunity to check out the art scene across the city and interact with a new set of local organizers.

The organizers of Take Notes are already talking about possibly adding additional events to the discussion series in response to the enthusiasm of fans and artists around the Triangle.

* The next event "Women of Wakanda: Cocktails and Conversation" takes place Tuesday, March 6 at Arcana, a bar and lounge. Black Panther-themed cocktails will be available for guests 21 and up!

Angel Dozier reports that this event is currently sold-out, but organizers are hoping to announce a repeat event to accommodate local interest on the March 6 event's Facebook page.

Information about the next events in the series can be found on Facebook where there are public events and links to grab free tickets.

Writes of Wakanda

Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hayti Heritage Center

Music of Wakanda

Saturday, March 24 at 2:00 p.m. at The Vault at The Palace International

Science and Technology of Wakanda

Tuesday, April 3 at 6:30 PM at the Stanford L. Warren Library

Free ticket details to be announced on the Be Connected Durham Facebook page in March

Tracy Deonn Walker is an ABC11 Community Influencer, fangirl, and writer. Visit her website to keep up with her work and follow her on Twitter.