‘Black Panther’ Creators Say Any Kid Can Wear The Costume

A pedestrian passes in front of a Marvel Studios LLC 'Black Panther' movie poster displayed outside an AMC Entertainment Inc. theater in Santa Monica, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 27,
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The movie was a smash success, but children of a certain color are being told they can’t dress as a superhero from “Black Panther.”

White Social Justice scolds are virtue signaling by “asking” if they should allow their white children – or if any white children should be allowed – to dress as T’Challa or Princess Shuri from the film. The people who helped create the “Black Panther” characters, however, told The Washington Post that any child should be able to dress as the superhero they revere the most.

“The idea that only black kids would wear Black Panther costumes is insane to me,” said Reg Hudlin, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who has worked on “Black Panther” projects from movies to TV to comics. “Why would anyone say that?"

Hudlin went on to praise children who see T’Challa and idolize him.

“I love that all kids want to be Black Panther or Shuri or the Dora Milaje,” Hudlin said. “These are the small steps that make the world a better place.”

Hudlin further noted that he always “loved” the diversity of the “Black Panther” fandom.

“Every type of person showed up for a book signing: black, white, Asian, Latino — men and women, young and old,” he said. “It feels good to write something culturally specific that plugs into a universally relatable experience.”

Ruth E. Carter, the Oscar-nominated costume designer who worked on “Black Panther,” agreed, suggesting the costumes could be a cultural bridge.

“The only reason we’re asking that question now is because the Black Panther is a black man. And I think that’s what’s wrong with people — that’s what’s wrong with parents,” Carter said. “Because I see kids far and wide embracing the concept of a superhero. I believe they see him as someone who is majestic and powerful and doing good, and [who] has a kingdom and a legacy and is pretty cool. I don’t think they see a black guy — I think they see the image of a superhero.

She added, “it happens to be the Black Panther just as it happens to be Superman.” She also said it is not the children who have issues, but the parents, who “get so hung up on the wrong thing that kids aren’t even focused on — but they make the kids focus on it."

Carter also praised Marvel Comics for creating “Black Panther,” saying it “grabbed a whole [black] demographic that was not really represented and brought them in, and just opened the door to everyone. It didn’t mean that now it’s a segregated world — it means that it’s an inclusionary one.”

“If we don’t embrace other cultures and let other ethnicities embrace ours, then we’re hypocrites,” she added.

Shawn Martinbrough, a cartoonist who worked on the “Black Panther: The Man Without Fear” comic book series said allowing children of other cultures to dress as “Black Panther” characters could help fight stereotypes.

“I’m happy that kids across the spectrum feel so connected to the characters of Wakanda,” Martinbrough said. “The more comfortable people are experiencing and embracing the beauty in other cultures, [that] makes them less likely to indulge in stereotypes.”

These creators are right: Let kids dress up as whoever they see as a hero. Telling them they’re not allowed to enjoy something because of the color or their skin will lead to resentment and racism over time.

I mean, maybe don’t paint them in blackface, but the clothes should be accessible to everyone.

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