Coogler, Film, and The Black Experience: What It All Means
Last week, Marvel confirmed that Ryan Coogler will direct the Black Panther film.
It seems strange that, in 2016, the film industry is still seeing firsts. The Black Panther, Marvel’s first black superhero, is finally getting a movie directed by a black filmmaker for the first time.
Coogler spoke about the importance of having a black filmmaker to ScreenRant.
“I think that there is a potential for a greater truth when a filmmaker comes from a particular culture that they’re dealing with. That’s not to say that a filmmaker can’t work outside his or her cultural space. But I do believe that the opportunity for the film to have more nuance will come when you looking at filmmakers that bring a little bit of that from their personal experience.”
The other directors that were in the running were Selma’s Ava DuVernay and Straight Outta Compton’s F. Gary Gray, both black directors who have excelled in creating blockbusters.
Isaiah Washington brought up a remark about how Black filmmakers and the Black experience are not celebrated in Hollywood shortly after he released Blue Caprice and For Colored Boys.
The black experience is not something that mainstream society appreciates; its prominence has only recently been celebrated recently, where acts of social media like #BlackLivesMatter have awoken the masses to understand that the Black experience should not be tolerated because it needs to be accepted.
While there are musicians who often discuss the complexities of Black life like Kendrick Lamar and Goldlink, others are belittling the human experience by drowning it by diluting their musical content to the hyper-sexualization of women, the overindulgence of substances, and the unscrupulous issue of infidelity like Chris Brown and Omarion.
The black experience isn’t taken seriously, and when film enters the conversation, it is not surprising that filmmakers aren’t appreciated. That’s why Ava DuVernay was the sole gatekeeper of Black America for a year; she represented the Black experience effortlessly well through her work for Selma.
While Coogler was always “Marvel’s first choice”, it seems like the company was taking precautionary measures to ensure that he was more than a Black man talking about the nuances of Black America as they often surface mainstream culture. Marvel was doing its job to make sure that the director they chose was a “proper Black man doing his job to educate the masses.”
Ryan Coogler is more than what he makes on screen, however his accolades are soon to transcend the boundaries that mainstream society has placed in front of him. In 2013, he wrote and directed his first award-winning film, Fruitvale Station. Last year, he directed Creed, which awarded Sylvester Stallone a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
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