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In 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally delivered on something fans had long been waiting for: a feature film with a solo Black superhero. Black Panther introduced viewers to the stunning world of Wakanda, a fictional African country with incredible technological advancements, and to T'Challa, a young man stepping into his role as king and taking up the mantle of the In 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally delivered on something fans had long been waiting for: a feature film with a solo Black superhero. Black Panther introduced viewers to the stunning world of Wakanda, a fictional African country with incredible technological advancements, and to T'Challa, a young man stepping into his role as king and taking up the mantle of the Black Panther title from his late father. The unforgettable story, coupled with the film's mega-success, has undoubtedly shaped the future of superhero cinema, in addition to genuinely changing viewers' lives. Why Wakanda Matters gives this iconic film the in-depth analysis it deserves under the lens of the latest psychological concepts-as well as delving into the lasting cultural impact of this unforgettable story. Edited by Sheena C. Howard, an award-winning author, filmmaker, and scholar, Why Wakanda Matters: What Black Panther Reveals About Psychology, Identity, and Communication features a collection of essays from leading experts in a variety of fields who offer insightful perspectives on topics such as: - Cognitive dissonance: The important messages within T'Challa's nuanced identity and eventual shift from nationalism to globalism. - Intergenerational trauma and resistance: How N'Jadaka (aka Erik/Killmonger) identifies with the trauma that his ancestors have suffered. - Social identity: How Nakia, Shuri, Okoye, and Ramonda—all empowered, intelligent, and assertive women of color—can make a lasting impression on women and girls. - Collective identity: How Black Panther has created a shared fantasy for Black audience members—and why this is groundbreaking. - Cultural and racial identity: What we can learn from Black Panther's portrayal of a culture virtually untouched by white supremacy. Fans of the movie and those interested in deeper discussions about the film will revel in this thought-provoking examination of all aspects of Black Panther and the power of psychology.


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In 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally delivered on something fans had long been waiting for: a feature film with a solo Black superhero. Black Panther introduced viewers to the stunning world of Wakanda, a fictional African country with incredible technological advancements, and to T'Challa, a young man stepping into his role as king and taking up the mantle of the In 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally delivered on something fans had long been waiting for: a feature film with a solo Black superhero. Black Panther introduced viewers to the stunning world of Wakanda, a fictional African country with incredible technological advancements, and to T'Challa, a young man stepping into his role as king and taking up the mantle of the Black Panther title from his late father. The unforgettable story, coupled with the film's mega-success, has undoubtedly shaped the future of superhero cinema, in addition to genuinely changing viewers' lives. Why Wakanda Matters gives this iconic film the in-depth analysis it deserves under the lens of the latest psychological concepts-as well as delving into the lasting cultural impact of this unforgettable story. Edited by Sheena C. Howard, an award-winning author, filmmaker, and scholar, Why Wakanda Matters: What Black Panther Reveals About Psychology, Identity, and Communication features a collection of essays from leading experts in a variety of fields who offer insightful perspectives on topics such as: - Cognitive dissonance: The important messages within T'Challa's nuanced identity and eventual shift from nationalism to globalism. - Intergenerational trauma and resistance: How N'Jadaka (aka Erik/Killmonger) identifies with the trauma that his ancestors have suffered. - Social identity: How Nakia, Shuri, Okoye, and Ramonda—all empowered, intelligent, and assertive women of color—can make a lasting impression on women and girls. - Collective identity: How Black Panther has created a shared fantasy for Black audience members—and why this is groundbreaking. - Cultural and racial identity: What we can learn from Black Panther's portrayal of a culture virtually untouched by white supremacy. Fans of the movie and those interested in deeper discussions about the film will revel in this thought-provoking examination of all aspects of Black Panther and the power of psychology.

30 review for Why Wakanda Matters: What Black Panther Reveals About Psychology, Identity, and Communication

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Why Wakanda Matters is a really great collection of essays from professional psychologists, communications researchers, etc. using Black Panther and Wakanda as a jumping off point for talking about identity, representation, mental health, healing and more. The essays are interesting, fun, and insightful as they both celebrate and critique the film and its importance to the Black community. From an essay about the power of the women in the film being strong, smart, beautiful, and wearing natural Why Wakanda Matters is a really great collection of essays from professional psychologists, communications researchers, etc. using Black Panther and Wakanda as a jumping off point for talking about identity, representation, mental health, healing and more. The essays are interesting, fun, and insightful as they both celebrate and critique the film and its importance to the Black community. From an essay about the power of the women in the film being strong, smart, beautiful, and wearing natural hairstyles and the importance of that role modeling for girls, to the way Killmonger embodies Black trauma and generational trauma, or the way his plot arc might undercut the importance of Black radicalism in history...there's a lot here and it is definitely worth your time. A wonderful collection of essays engaging in rigorous media analysis, recognizing the value and shortfalls of this important property. In terms of the audiobook, I think it is well executed and the narrator did a great job. It would have been nice to get a book like this with more of a full cast reading, but it's still a good audiobook. I received an audio review copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    A collection of academic essays mostly examining the messaging, impact, and symbolism of Black Panther. The best essays either went deep in an unexpected way in to the movie (such as those looking at how Killmonger was impacted by trauma) or in the movie's impact (such as those taking a social learning or social identity approach to the movie's message and impact). One of the best was a look at how the movie explicitly plays with White narratives of Africa and colonization and explicitly sidelin A collection of academic essays mostly examining the messaging, impact, and symbolism of Black Panther. The best essays either went deep in an unexpected way in to the movie (such as those looking at how Killmonger was impacted by trauma) or in the movie's impact (such as those taking a social learning or social identity approach to the movie's message and impact). One of the best was a look at how the movie explicitly plays with White narratives of Africa and colonization and explicitly sidelines the White perspective. Two other great ones were a guide to using movies like Black Panther to bring up difficult subjects in the classroom and a look at how Black Panther, for all it's celebration of African and African American identity, subtly undercuts and demonizes the Black radical tradition. Not all were at this level but on the whole a satisfying collection. **Thanks to the authors, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    4.5 stars! When Black Panther hit theaters nationwide, you could tell that something important was happening. The film was the first superhero movie featuring a primarily Black cast. The film resonated with people both Black and non-Black alike. In Why Wakanda Matters, a new essay collection edited by Sheena C. Howard, experts from various fields discuss exactly why Black Panther resonated in our society and WHY it matters. This is a deep dive into the psychology of the impact of the film on pop 4.5 stars! When Black Panther hit theaters nationwide, you could tell that something important was happening. The film was the first superhero movie featuring a primarily Black cast. The film resonated with people both Black and non-Black alike. In Why Wakanda Matters, a new essay collection edited by Sheena C. Howard, experts from various fields discuss exactly why Black Panther resonated in our society and WHY it matters. This is a deep dive into the psychology of the impact of the film on pop culture and society in general. The experts analyze the movie including topics such as: -Black Identity -Social Learning Theory -Intergenerational Trauma -Decolonization of African Narratives -Cognitive Dissonance I personally love the movie and have watched it many times with my 2 sons. While we are not Black, my sons are BIPOC (their father, my husband, is Pakistani), so it is important to me that they see representation from non-white folks in media. I really enjoyed this deeper discussion of the movie. The writers obviously put a lot of thought into their topics and have opened my eyes to a few things. I can't wait to watch the movie again with all of this additional perspective. I listened to the audiobook, which was well-produced. Highly recommend! Thank you to the publisher for the audiobook in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I RECEIVED A DIGITAL ARC FROM NETGALLEY. This collection of essay was brilliant and insightful and fun at the same time. Written by professionals from various fields, this book tackles a variety of issues drawn from the black panther films and its impact on the people of African descent in the diaspora. This book talks about the fantastical elements of black panther and what Wakanda represents for African people in the diaspora e.g. living in a world where there is no fear because of the color of I RECEIVED A DIGITAL ARC FROM NETGALLEY. This collection of essay was brilliant and insightful and fun at the same time. Written by professionals from various fields, this book tackles a variety of issues drawn from the black panther films and its impact on the people of African descent in the diaspora. This book talks about the fantastical elements of black panther and what Wakanda represents for African people in the diaspora e.g. living in a world where there is no fear because of the color of your skin. There's also the discussion of the effects of media in shaping the perceptions of who we are and how it is important for African people to see themselves on screen and not only that but portrayed in a complex manner without the usual stereotypes that we face. The fluid nature of the Black identity is discussed and we are invited to take pride in our racial identity in all its forms without being boxed in by stereotypical notions of what the world sees us to be. discussions of intergenerational trauma are also talked about with reference to the source of killmonger's pain and the traumas that he had faced growing up as a Black child which led him to his aggression and bitterness which helps us identify with him and also sympathize with him but at the same time we are also given advice on how we can heal our trauma. This book has the range I assure you from all the topics it talks about, the book introduced me to a lot of concepts about psychology that I had no Idea about and made me want to do more research, but also just seeing what the film meant to African Americans especially was so touching. As a continental African I had my own qualms with the film but those pale in comparison to now my understanding of the positive impact of the film. This book is amazing 100% recommend. thanks to netgalley for the ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    TK Vincent

    Full disclosure: I was given a free ARC for my review on Net Gallery. Below is my honest and spoiler free review. Comic book fans have always known that this was a visual medium that could be as much a social commentary of the world as it is a form of entertainment. However, both comic books and the superhero films created from them by Marvel and DC have been denigrated by some directors, and the world at large, as “popcorn films” – allegedly empty of artistic license or things to say. Dr Howard’ Full disclosure: I was given a free ARC for my review on Net Gallery. Below is my honest and spoiler free review. Comic book fans have always known that this was a visual medium that could be as much a social commentary of the world as it is a form of entertainment. However, both comic books and the superhero films created from them by Marvel and DC have been denigrated by some directors, and the world at large, as “popcorn films” – allegedly empty of artistic license or things to say. Dr Howard’s Why Wakanda Matters is another nail in the coffin of that way of thinking. This is a selection of essays created by academics and experts from multiple fields (communication, psychology, and education) who use Black Panther as a vehicle to explore concepts of race, identity, representation, perception and trauma. They all come with different approaches and models for the reader’s consideration. This helps not only provide academic justification for Black Panthers’ legions of fans, but also a meaningful stick to push back naysayers with renewed rigour. It could help those who don’t experience life as a Black person with an insight behind the reasons why there was such a visceral and emotional worldwide response to the film. If you are not Black but you enjoyed the film but you don’t want feel white guilt for being born who you are and you're lucky enough to not experience systemic racism, active discrimination and oppression due to the colour of your skin… This could be your way of dipping your toe in the water. It deconstructs complex ideas in a digestible way, and ensures that through shared life experiences and the lens of those who often don’t get to tell their stories, their way – authentically. It’s why #WakandaForever resonates. This book explains the reasons behind the actors’ Boseman and Jordan active decision-making to refuse to act in films that reinforced negative Black stereotypes and to avoid perpetuating the notion that all Black stories are the same. This collection of essays push back the curtain to show the "how" and the "why" behind the idea that representation matters - because without wider narratives that show different stories to the story that is told by the powerful mainstream – the one story is all that is left. That it too perpetuates more violence and trauma. It is also brave enough to show the flip side. In Chapter 9, it explores how it could be argued that the film also can be seen as damaging to the very cause it tried to fight by analysing the manifestation of Erik Killmonger. Chapter 14 explores how interpretive dissonance plays into how change may still be slow to come to fruition despite its juggernaut financial success. This book is needed in the same way that Black Panther was needed. Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians have paved the way for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Only time will tell whether the latter will have anywhere near the impact of Wakanda.

  6. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    First things first. I'm not black. No, I'm not white too. I'm brown. But I've shouted "Wakanda Forever" with all my heart in the movie theatre and even at my television set. I cried the day Chadwick Boseman died. (No, please don't take this as cultural appropriation. It is just a sign of how much Black Panther made all of us minorities proud of being represented on screen on any way, even if we weren't blacks.) Is it any wonder then that I opted for this ARC? However, I was a bit disappointed tha First things first. I'm not black. No, I'm not white too. I'm brown. But I've shouted "Wakanda Forever" with all my heart in the movie theatre and even at my television set. I cried the day Chadwick Boseman died. (No, please don't take this as cultural appropriation. It is just a sign of how much Black Panther made all of us minorities proud of being represented on screen on any way, even if we weren't blacks.) Is it any wonder then that I opted for this ARC? However, I was a bit disappointed that this is not a graphic novel, unlike NetGalley led me to believe. Then again, I may not have opted for the ARC if it had been put up as a collection of essays, and in doing so, I would have missed out on a pretty interesting experience. Why Wakanda Matters is a rich collection of essays by various academics around the huge phenomenon named Black Panther. Most of the essays are written in an interesting manner, and give you great insights into the beloved movie and its characters. I appreciated how one essay even looked at the flip side of the matter. I loved all the write-ups focussing on Shuri, Okoye and Nakia, the three female trendsetters of Wakanda. Surprisingly to me, Erik Killmonger gets his fair share of analysis too, even more than T'challa. I guess we all have more to learn from the villains than the heroes. Some of my favourite essays in the collection were "The Symbolic, the Real, and the Ladies of Wakanda" by Claudia Bucciferro, "The Oreo, the King, and the Wakandan Salute: What Black Panther Shows Us About Why Representation Matters" by Mercedes Samudio and "Representation, Identification, and Pride Teaching with (and Through) Black Panther" by Evan Jones. Overall, it's an insightful and thought-provoking book to read, as long as you know what to expect from it. Black Panther was a very start in the right direction, but ultimately, it's just a movie. It's upto the citizens to imbibe the values it aims to propagate. I received an advance review copy of the book for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. ************************************* Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Micaela

    As a white woman from South America, I really can't speak about Black Panther's influence in my life. I mean, I'm a fan of everything superheroes, and that movie is really, really good. But, in matters of representation? I have to take the word of the people who see themselves in it. And this book, this collection of essays, is a great overview of it. "Why Wakanda matters?" delves into the cultural, racial, symbolic and psychological impact of the only Marvel movie nominated for a Best Picture Os As a white woman from South America, I really can't speak about Black Panther's influence in my life. I mean, I'm a fan of everything superheroes, and that movie is really, really good. But, in matters of representation? I have to take the word of the people who see themselves in it. And this book, this collection of essays, is a great overview of it. "Why Wakanda matters?" delves into the cultural, racial, symbolic and psychological impact of the only Marvel movie nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. With perfectly structured essays and a diversity of theories from psychology and communication studies, this book shows the different layers of representation, positive and negative, that the movie shows, and how it may impact the identity of young Black people specifically. But at its core, this is a love letter to Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger, and I'm absolutely fine with it since he's the best MCU villain (and you can't change my mind). The complexity of the character, the different meanings of his actions, the symbology, it's all deeply analyzed as one of the main subjects of this book. On a personal note, and to all white readers, this book feels like a starting point to reflect on our behavior and privileges, as it presents a lot of situations and considerations that some of us really didn't know or even thought about in out blissful ignorance.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lestat

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley, and I'm so glad it was available. As a huge fan of the Black Panther film (I'm not Black, but I am a person of color), I was eager to dive into the discourse surrounding it-less from the cinematic perspective, and more from the cultural and social impact that the film had. Sheena C. Howard edited this anthology of essays, and also contributed an essay of her own. I knew this book was going to be something special when I read the foreword by Black Pan I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley, and I'm so glad it was available. As a huge fan of the Black Panther film (I'm not Black, but I am a person of color), I was eager to dive into the discourse surrounding it-less from the cinematic perspective, and more from the cultural and social impact that the film had. Sheena C. Howard edited this anthology of essays, and also contributed an essay of her own. I knew this book was going to be something special when I read the foreword by Black Panther art director, Phillip Boutté Jr. I, sometimes, find forewords to be intrusive and self-glorifying, but Boutté Jr.'s writing is evocative and a rallying cry. He understood why the film is important, but also how it's important. And that's a perfect segue into the rest of the essays. I won't go into each one in-depth as each reader should take away their own impressions from the collection. What I will say is that I was fascinated by Howard's bold move to include differing-but not disparate-views of the film in this collection. Each author dissects the film in their own way to analyze the creation of the characters and the fictional world of Wakanda, while also explaining which psycho-socio-political reason made these elements resonate with so many Black people, and people of color, around the world. From intergenerational trauma to the psychological effects of systemic racism, one gets a clear understanding of exactly why this film, of all the superhero comic book adaptations that have come before it, made waves. I'll briefly mention some of the essays that stood out to me. Mercedes Samudio's essay really resonated with me because she was an African-American child who often loved 'white' entertainment. Her essay was cathartic to read as it assuaged some of the guilt I've always felt for disparaging local media, while explaining why something like Black Panther feels so all-encompassing to fans. Howard's final essay is a clinical look at T'Challa's evolution during the film, and it's not only a testament to the fantastic writing in this film but of how much nuance is needed for us to love and respect a character so different from us (because he's royalty, and a superhero). Evan Jones' entry is almost a checklist of parenting while Black. I hope, however, that anyone reading this-irrespective of race-chooses to follow the author's guide so that race becomes less of an issue in the future. There are several essays evaluating the psychology behind Erik Killmonger's characterization, as well as fans' love for this character. I am not surprised by how heavily the film's villain features in this essay. One essayist, Olísa Yaa Tolókun, refers to him solely by his given name, N'Jadaka, almost as if to disconnect him from his villainy. I appreciate how much more I've learnt about being Black in America, and what more Black culture is when not told through the narrow viewpoint of other communities. There are cultural examples that I've never even heard of, but which, I'm assuming, is probably a part of daily discourse among many Black families. I can't recall a genre film capturing the imagination of scholars and academics outside the film sphere quite like Black Panther has. And with good reason as we see in this book. For any fan of Black Panther, of discourse around entertainment media and representation in film, this book is a must-read (and a must-keep).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Why Wakanda Matters is a collection of essays by several different contributors on the psychology and cultural impact of Black Panther edited by Dr. Sheena C. Howard. Due out 2nd Feb 2021 from BenBella Books, it's 288 pages (print edition) and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. I've been a comics/speculative fiction/SF/fantasy nerd my whole life (literally, my dad was also a comics fan, and my grandfather taught himself Engl Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Why Wakanda Matters is a collection of essays by several different contributors on the psychology and cultural impact of Black Panther edited by Dr. Sheena C. Howard. Due out 2nd Feb 2021 from BenBella Books, it's 288 pages (print edition) and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. I've been a comics/speculative fiction/SF/fantasy nerd my whole life (literally, my dad was also a comics fan, and my grandfather taught himself English by reading comics). I've enjoyed seeing the massive commercial success of many comics franchises in film and television and the serious consideration of comics and graphic novels as valid vehicles for profound and relevant storytelling. That is one reason this collection really appealed to me. These essays are from recognized professionals analyzing the psychology and cultural relevance of Black Panther and how it dovetails with the modern African American diaspora. The essays are grouped roughly thematically: collective identity and connectedness, racial identity, intergenerational trauma and resistance, and cognition and identification. The essays themselves are written in layman accessible language with an academic slant. I often found myself challenged and moved while reading. It certainly gave me a lot to think about. The chapters are extensively annotated and the referenced materials will give keen readers a lot of directions for further reading. Five stars, I think this is an *important* and relevant book. This would be a superlative choice for classroom use/lecture/ or support material for race/gender studies, sociology, media, psychology, communication, film/literature, and allied subjects. It would also be a great choice for library acquisition, home library, or gifting. Well written. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    Okay many frustrations - I really struggled to read this - I don’t know if it was just the MANY different authors , writing styles and perspectives or what but this was hard to get through I had planned to share it with a coworker but I left it on my desk with only the “in conclusion” final note to read (and was desperately hoping this wrapped things up / made more sense) and someone took it - I do hope they enjoy it more than I did but they took ALLLLLL my notes! I think for the most part it fr Okay many frustrations - I really struggled to read this - I don’t know if it was just the MANY different authors , writing styles and perspectives or what but this was hard to get through I had planned to share it with a coworker but I left it on my desk with only the “in conclusion” final note to read (and was desperately hoping this wrapped things up / made more sense) and someone took it - I do hope they enjoy it more than I did but they took ALLLLLL my notes! I think for the most part it frustrated me because it was seeming to bash the movie and fault it in some ways and then also give it all credit - I do think representation matters but it is not the end all be all kids imitate animals and we are the ones telling them what a person (or their gender or race) roles are and aren’t - I also do not like gross or mass generalizations - this book def made me realize I am a humanistic person ! I think we can all struggle with identity even as a female what society and culture tells you to be or what you can be and what it means is often not what or who you feel you are or who you want to be .... as a female I don’t think our experience is ever the same relatable likely but not the same and in conversations I don’t think being black is the same interpretation or experience for all either and there is more divide and difference within groups in most cases - I am not dismissing struggle racism or other issues people of color face but to generalize to all I think is unfair even in the book looking at the different chapters it is clear the view is extremely varied . idk this was just a frustrating read - I did like the final chapter I read and thought that it was what I had expected from the book talking about the utility of the movie but also what we as society and individuals can also do to better and uplift minorities etc - I wish I had my notes and the book because I would love to actually have had my coworker read it and review notes and be able to share the specific chapters I found challenging and the verbiage etc but again I hope at the very least whoever took it actually enjoys it

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve Brown

    In the forward, the question is posed, "Name a movie where a little black kid goes on an adventure and is the lead?" All think they can, but can never come up with an ET, Harry Potter, etc. Phillip Boutte Jr., a costume concept artist and writer of the forward, was working on A Wrinkle in Time with Oprah and at the same time Black Panther when he posed the question. Imagine his pride in knowing that stores would now be full of black toys. The book itself delves into the psychology of the film an In the forward, the question is posed, "Name a movie where a little black kid goes on an adventure and is the lead?" All think they can, but can never come up with an ET, Harry Potter, etc. Phillip Boutte Jr., a costume concept artist and writer of the forward, was working on A Wrinkle in Time with Oprah and at the same time Black Panther when he posed the question. Imagine his pride in knowing that stores would now be full of black toys. The book itself delves into the psychology of the film and its black viewers. It talks about how important it is to see strong, positive male and female black characters of different ages on the screen and has created something for the audience to bond around. As a white guy, I admit all of this was totally lost on me. I saw it only as a great superhero movie, while for black audiences it was that and so much more. Fantasy and using our imagination and play are so important to our development and this enables black children, as well as teens and adults, to more closely identify with positive role models. It offers them a different idea of what could be and what "normal" looks like. Fictional, often precedes reality. For example: we had stories of being in space long before we were able to get there. It's a heavy read with chapters written by psychologists, LCSWs, professors, etc. and the kind of book you'll need to read more than once to truly grasp the historical influence of The Black Panther. And while most of the writing is about the positive influence and images of black people, I appreciated that there was space in this book for a contrasting point of view and commend Dr. Howard for providing that space Note: I've downloaded a bunch of free, (mostly) random, pre-releases of books with the idea of expanding my range and helping authors get reviews. #netgalley

  12. 5 out of 5

    Faye Hamidavi

    “A place where Black people can create and sustain their own; a place where when Black people put their hands up, nobody says shoot; a place where Black people can breathe; a place where the strength and beauty of a Black woman is the norm…” These are just some of the reasons provided by Felicia Stewart in her essay “Cross My Heart and Hope to Die in Wakanda” as to why Wakanda matters outside of the realm of the MCU. This collection of essays edited by Sheena C. Howard highlight how impactful the “A place where Black people can create and sustain their own; a place where when Black people put their hands up, nobody says shoot; a place where Black people can breathe; a place where the strength and beauty of a Black woman is the norm…” These are just some of the reasons provided by Felicia Stewart in her essay “Cross My Heart and Hope to Die in Wakanda” as to why Wakanda matters outside of the realm of the MCU. This collection of essays edited by Sheena C. Howard highlight how impactful the fictional country has been on the African diaspora as well as on non-Black fans. These essays do a fantastic job of analyzing Black Panther’s impact with different psychological and literary theories in a way that is accessible to all readers. I particularly loved Claudia Bucciferro’s essay, “The Symbolic, the Real, and the Ladies of Wakanda” which discusses the importance of young women having fictional role models that look like them to look up to. The collection is not merely a celebration of Wakanda though. Charles Athanasopoulos’s essay “Black Radical Thought as Pathology in Black Panther” in critique of the film’s portrayal of Black radicalism provides thought-provoking commentary on some of the negative affects of the film and its fictional city as well. In the introduction, Howard writes that she hopes the book leaves you “with a sense of the cultural-historical impact of Black Panther.” This collection certainly does that. Each essay makes a compelling case as to how Wakanda’s impact goes far beyond entertained Marvel fans leaving the theatre. Any fan of the Black Panther comic books or films would gain a lot from reading this collection. Thank you to BenBella Books and NetGalley for proving me this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    *Full disclosure: I was given a free ARC for my review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* 4.5 stars "Why Wakanda Matters" is an impressive collection of essays written by a very talented group of professionals such as psychologists and other experts dissecting the movie, "The Black Panther." The compilation their perspectives touch upon social identity, cultural identity, the devastating ramifications of white colonialism, and many other important topics that should not be silenced. *Full disclosure: I was given a free ARC for my review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* 4.5 stars "Why Wakanda Matters" is an impressive collection of essays written by a very talented group of professionals such as psychologists and other experts dissecting the movie, "The Black Panther." The compilation their perspectives touch upon social identity, cultural identity, the devastating ramifications of white colonialism, and many other important topics that should not be silenced. The book discusses a variety of different characters and themes and what they represented within the story line - Shuri, Okoye, Nakia : The representation of a strong female population unrestrained by white patriarchy. Killmonger: The representation of a strong antagonist fueled by vengeance with a goal towards total liberation. Klaw: The representation and literal embodiment of white supremacy. Wakanda: The representation of "what could have been" without white colonial exploitation and a lifetime of oppression. I would highly recommend this book - for those interest in the Marvel-verse and for those that are not. There is such a need for movies and books like this in an industry that is highly manipulated by rich, white males... and we need to do whatever we can in our power to support those who are choosing to stand up and shed their light and knowledge on the social inequities and racial injustices of our world.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Thank you #netgalley for a copy of this #audiobook. Why Wakanda Matters is a compelling series of short essays that help to raise awareness on how the incorporation of black culture in the media will help to empower those that have been repressed for so many generations. I can only hope that Black Panther is the first of many movies to come that will provide encouraging representations for young black children. I loved the detail within this book about African cultures, it was enlightening and t Thank you #netgalley for a copy of this #audiobook. Why Wakanda Matters is a compelling series of short essays that help to raise awareness on how the incorporation of black culture in the media will help to empower those that have been repressed for so many generations. I can only hope that Black Panther is the first of many movies to come that will provide encouraging representations for young black children. I loved the detail within this book about African cultures, it was enlightening and thought provoking. The essays demonstrate how the oppressed can only hold onto hope and nonviolent tactics for so long, and the need for those within power to assist with facilitating change. At the end of the series Sheena C. Howard comments on the United States government’s ability to react and provide assistance in response to the corona virus pandemic. This demonstration of power upheld our belief that the U.S. government has the capability to provide the support needed to facilitate change and empower the black community. We as a people must do more to support others. This book is a must read, especially if you’re not a POC. It opens your eyes to the need for change.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Iceybell Reads

    I was given an ARC from Net Galley. Quite honestly, this book isn't what I expected. That isn't a bad thing. I typically read quickly, but took my time with this book as if I were studying it for school. I was engaged! This collection of essays expressed a lot of what I felt beyond the entertainment value of the movie and some of the topics my friends and I discussed after seeing it. I appreciated the setup of this book as it provided essays on themes found within Black Panther and how they relat I was given an ARC from Net Galley. Quite honestly, this book isn't what I expected. That isn't a bad thing. I typically read quickly, but took my time with this book as if I were studying it for school. I was engaged! This collection of essays expressed a lot of what I felt beyond the entertainment value of the movie and some of the topics my friends and I discussed after seeing it. I appreciated the setup of this book as it provided essays on themes found within Black Panther and how they related to topics including Racial Identity, intergenerational trauma, and most importantly for me the women of Wakanda. Each chapter presented by a different author was able to provide how the movie and its themes relate not only to the US but other parts of the world. I think anyone who has seen the movie could appreciate this collection of essays.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marilu

    Why Wakanda Matters is a rich collection of essays by various academics around the huge phenomenon named Black Panther. The essays are written with deep insight into Black identity, systematic racism, and other important themes. I loved all the write-ups focussing on Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, and, even, Erik Killmonger! My personal favorite is "The Oreo, the King, and the Wakandan Salute: What Black Panther Shows Us About Why Representation Matters" by Mercedes Samudio. Overall, it's an insightful an Why Wakanda Matters is a rich collection of essays by various academics around the huge phenomenon named Black Panther. The essays are written with deep insight into Black identity, systematic racism, and other important themes. I loved all the write-ups focussing on Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, and, even, Erik Killmonger! My personal favorite is "The Oreo, the King, and the Wakandan Salute: What Black Panther Shows Us About Why Representation Matters" by Mercedes Samudio. Overall, it's an insightful and thought-provoking book to read. The one thing that bothered me was that it is marketed, at least on my end, as a graphic novel/comic so I was expecting some incidents where we will have visuals. Otherwise, fantastic read! Thank you, NetGalley and Smart Pop for the ARC for my honest review. I just reviewed Why Wakanda Matters by Dr. Sheena C. Howard. #WhyWakandaMatters #NetGalley

  17. 5 out of 5

    C.A. Craven

    (Full disclosure, I won a copy of this in a GoodReads giveaway - I'm also white enough to glow in the dark) Sometimes we can feel like we know fictional characters better than real people (and it feels a little less intrusive to psycho-analyze them from a distance), so the premise of examining race and identity through the lens of "Black Panther" worked really well. Each essay in the collection was informative and interesting, and I enjoyed reading about experiences so different from my own. I di (Full disclosure, I won a copy of this in a GoodReads giveaway - I'm also white enough to glow in the dark) Sometimes we can feel like we know fictional characters better than real people (and it feels a little less intrusive to psycho-analyze them from a distance), so the premise of examining race and identity through the lens of "Black Panther" worked really well. Each essay in the collection was informative and interesting, and I enjoyed reading about experiences so different from my own. I did feel a little lost with some of the psychological terms - most of the authors did a good job explaining, but it felt more technical than I was expecting in a mass-market publication. I'd recommend this for comic/movie fans looking to read some authentic Black voices, especially now.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    I loved this collection of essays that was written by professional psychologists, researchers, etc. This book explored identity, healing. Tne importance of having everyone represented in films, mental health, and healing. I think this book was amazing and a much needed read given the unrest in our society today. Regardless of what side you fall on when it come to politics, you can tell there is definitely a change of awareness and a new sense of identity for those who have long been passed over. I loved this collection of essays that was written by professional psychologists, researchers, etc. This book explored identity, healing. Tne importance of having everyone represented in films, mental health, and healing. I think this book was amazing and a much needed read given the unrest in our society today. Regardless of what side you fall on when it come to politics, you can tell there is definitely a change of awareness and a new sense of identity for those who have long been passed over. There is an outcry for role models and representation for all races and genders and we can thank Black Panther for leading the way. Every child needs someone to look up to and needs role models that look and speak like them.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennopenny

    I'm going to buy this because I need to read it in print. Listening to it was good but I feel like this should be my coffee table book that I should reread a chapter from now and then. Even though I'm not American, have children or black. I'm a brown childless Swede that still find more characters to connect with in Black Panther than many other films. And found the discussion in this to be very interesting. I'm going to buy this because I need to read it in print. Listening to it was good but I feel like this should be my coffee table book that I should reread a chapter from now and then. Even though I'm not American, have children or black. I'm a brown childless Swede that still find more characters to connect with in Black Panther than many other films. And found the discussion in this to be very interesting.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    I loved the movie Black Panther so much that I was very intrigued by this free ARC from Netgalley and publishers. The format was not what I expected but it was still a great read. I have taken global diversity and culture courses in college which gave me good background of the main themes discussed in this series of essays. If you're interested in Black Panther or any form of cultural discussion, I recommend checking out this novel! I loved the movie Black Panther so much that I was very intrigued by this free ARC from Netgalley and publishers. The format was not what I expected but it was still a great read. I have taken global diversity and culture courses in college which gave me good background of the main themes discussed in this series of essays. If you're interested in Black Panther or any form of cultural discussion, I recommend checking out this novel!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Catrina

    An excellent look at the psychology of Black Panther and Wakanda. As a high school film teacher, I’ve been teaching Black Panther for the last few years, I am also currently doing an MA in School Counseling so I was able to make clear connections on the psychology and identification models that were discussed in the essays. It was a great read with a wide range of essays using different theories and theorists to analyze Black Panther and it’s impact on audiences.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Seher

    Thank you, NetGalley for this ARC! I am so happy to have received it. This book has not been given the hype it truly deserves. This is a thoughtful collection of essays on the Black Panther, that critique and celebrate the film. This is the sort of book that should be read over several times and on every fans bookshelf.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J.D. DeHart

    Dr. Sheena C. Howard assembles a variety of qualified voice to unearth the inner workings of the world of Black Panther and Wakanda. This text is useful for the presentation of many perspectives, is ready for citation in continuing work, and well worth adding to course syllabi focused on representation, visual literacy, and cultural exploration in popular media.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Yami

    A great book that I first thought would be a graphic novel and it wasn't, but the important thing is the texts within it. It is a book that takes us into that subject and that gives us different texts regarding it. A great book that I first thought would be a graphic novel and it wasn't, but the important thing is the texts within it. It is a book that takes us into that subject and that gives us different texts regarding it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Taryn

    I am giving this a 4 star based on how I think this book will end up. I received an advanced audio copy through Netgalley, but it was not a complete copy. I am looking forward to reading the rest.

  26. 5 out of 5

    OjoAusana

    *received for free from netgalley for honest review* Great audiobook, really enjoyed it, wouldn't mind buying *received for free from netgalley for honest review* Great audiobook, really enjoyed it, wouldn't mind buying

  27. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Thanks to NetGalley and BenBella Books for providing an ARC!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Thank you to Netgalley for this arc in return for my free review. I enjoyed this look into the psychology behind Black Panther, the good and the bad, through eyes that are not mine. While I felt this book was dense in parts, that did not take away from the fact that I felt this is a five star read. The fact that it felt dense meant, to me, that my mind was expanding and taking in knowledge from various points of view. Something important was in front of me and I should take my time to truly liste Thank you to Netgalley for this arc in return for my free review. I enjoyed this look into the psychology behind Black Panther, the good and the bad, through eyes that are not mine. While I felt this book was dense in parts, that did not take away from the fact that I felt this is a five star read. The fact that it felt dense meant, to me, that my mind was expanding and taking in knowledge from various points of view. Something important was in front of me and I should take my time to truly listen. As for the individual essays, my two favorites were "The Symbolic, the Real, and the Ladies of Wakanda" and "Black Radical Thought as Pathology in Black Panther". Both have to deal with characters who were either complex side characters (Shuri and Okoye) or the antagonist (Killmonger). The first gave an even deeper understanding why we need more strong black women characters in all areas of fiction - book, movie, and television - to show society that they're not a myth. They are everywhere and they should be celebrated more and more. There is no reason, in the year of 2021, that we should not have more. As for the second, it was a sharp reminder that, as much as I and probably others saw Black Panther as a turning point for the Black community, it is seeped in racism as well. It was one of the harder essays to read but I did get through it and I highlight it for that reason. I do recommend this book. It is not a light read and the only thing I can tell you is that I am a fast reader. I can read books in a day but this is a book that will take you days, if not weeks or a month, to fully sink in and open your mind to. It is not a bad thing. It is how great non-fiction should be read in order to open your mind.

  29. 4 out of 5

    TheBookishVirgo

    I received an ARC of this book from netgalley in exchange for a review. Comic books have always been iswd as a medium to discuss social and political issues and Black Panther is no different. Sheena C. Howard has put together a fantastic collection of essays that deal with topics such as cognitive dissonance, social identity, and cultural and racial identity. This book is powerful, insightful, and incredibly relevant in a time when these topics need to be discussed by all members of society and t I received an ARC of this book from netgalley in exchange for a review. Comic books have always been iswd as a medium to discuss social and political issues and Black Panther is no different. Sheena C. Howard has put together a fantastic collection of essays that deal with topics such as cognitive dissonance, social identity, and cultural and racial identity. This book is powerful, insightful, and incredibly relevant in a time when these topics need to be discussed by all members of society and the community. An amazing read that will make you look at the world of Wakanda (and hopefully the world in general!) differently the next time you watch Black Panther.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

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