Haitian History in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

By Evana Brenelus

 When I saw how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever honored Haiti, it was an emotional moment for me at the movie theater as I  am proud of my ethnic and cultural background.

Since the release of Black Panther in 2018, the Black community and others had long awaited the sequel. When Chadwick Boseman passed, it was a tough time for many people. He played such a huge role in the film, but represented so much more: he was Black excellence. 

The film is definitely worth watching. I had mixed emotions because some parts were funny, while others were extremely upsetting. There were aspects I never saw coming and I love a movie that can surprise me. Marvel did well incorporating Chadwick Boseman’s legacy throughout the film.

Black Panther as a superhero brought different communities together, whether you were African, African American, Latino or another member of the Black diaspora, and brought us back to our roots. Even with those roots, I was glad to see the culture my ancestors made for themselves reflected in this movie.

There were scenes filmed in Puerto Rico meant to reflect Cap-Haïtien, a northern coast in Haiti, and of Haitians speaking their native tongue, Haitian Creole. Speaking creole instead of French meant a lot to me, that was the language of our colonizers. I understood all of those scenes and it reminded me of how grateful I am that my parents taught me it. 

It was also refreshing to see some representation in the media by actual Haitians in a positive light.

The most powerful part of the film to me was when T’Challa’s (Black Panther) son was revealed. He told Shuri his Haitian name was Toussaint, and instantly, I made the connection.

Toussaint Louverture led the only successful slave revolution, in history, against the French and helped free Haiti in 1804. Haiti became the first free/independent Black republic, Latin American country, and Caribbean state. The Haitian Revolution inspired many others to lead their own and fight for their freedom. This part of history is often forgotten and overlooked.

For years, people have talked about Haiti and Haitians as if they are at the bottom of the barrel and weak. They have made it seem as if Haiti cannot be associated with anything good and all the media ever focuses on are the bad parts. 

My personal experience as someone of Haitian descent has not always been the best. I was bullied for it when I was younger, but I still see how others speak negatively about us these days.

I will never be ashamed of my Haitian descent because I know the blood that runs through my veins holds so much power. I get excited anytime I see Haitian representation, references, or praise anywhere because it is the least my people deserve.Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was powerful and represented many communities, both in the Black and Indigenous diasporas. Tying in Haitian history with it, in my opinion, was the perfect touch I never saw coming.

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