Black Panther: A powerful woman does not threaten a man’s position, says Lupita Nyong’o
Oscar-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o, who essays Nakia, an undercover spy for a fictitious nation in Africa called Wakanda in the film Black Panther, says the Ryan Coogler directorial shows that a man’s power does not diminish because the women is realising hers or assuming hers.
Black Panther is among the first films by the house of Marvel Studios which predominantly has a black cast and also shows a number of strong women of substance who work as the protagonist T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) allies.
Asked if the film can change certain dynamics in real considering that it addresses so many issues? Nyong’o said, “Yes. I think the first step to change things is recognising the problem. I think what is unique about Wakanda as we are introduced to it is that they figured out.. You see women with power alongside men.”
“The man’s power does not diminish because the woman is assuming hers (power). So, just because I have power it does not mean that I threaten the man’s position,” she added.
Nyong’o, who is known to be fearless and vocal about her thoughts hopes that the film can “ encourage” individuals to be a “little less scared of the other” in terms of gender. “There is a lot of subconscious conditioning that we have to bring to the fore before we can change it. And so the fact that little kids are going to be watching this film where the issue on the table is not sexism because men and women are getting on with it, “ said the 33-year-old , who has earlier said that she is prepared to use her fame to tackle the lack of opportunities in showbiz for ethnic stars and women.
Nyong’o hopes that Black Panther subconsciously changes something in people’s mind. “Little girls watching it will perhaps, they won’t be so afraid of their power. We have four women in this film that are powerful in very different ways and that is really exciting to have, that be the thing that our young ones are watching,” she said.
Speaking on powerful women, Nyong’o has supported women in Hollywood’s #MeToo movement where women have been speaking up against sexual misconduct at work against celebrities like disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. She herself accused him last year of sexual misconduct. In the same light, however, most actresses in Bollywood have kept mum on the subject or given diplomatic statements. Asked if she would like to give a message to the women in India to encourage them to speak out?
Nyong’o said, “I cannot speak to Indian women about it because I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman in India. So, I think we have to very mindful of the worlds that women live in...The different challenges. “
The actor although said that “America does influence the rest of the world when it comes to popular culture”. “America is going through a very interesting movement. Our industry is going through a very interesting and profound moment that is exemplary and it has the microphone that it has because it is Hollywood. It is America... But I don’t think that transformation happens at the same rate .. I hope change is coming and coming everywhere”.
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Black Panther also features Michael B Jordon, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Forest Whittaker and Martin Freeman among others.
The film is scheduled to release in India on February 16.