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6 Nigerian References/Easter Eggs You Didn't Notice in Black Panther

Marvel Studios really hit it big with Black Panther; from the amazing cast to the director, storyline, and everything. It is by far one of the best superhero movies ever, little wonder why it has made over $700 million dollars in just three weeks since its release and has broken or is well on its way to breaking almost all the records set in terms of both superhero and action blockbuster movies. You can read our review of Black Panther here or watch us talk about the movie here.

Having spent close to a month in Africa writing the script, director Ryan Coogler really came through in bringing the African out of Black Panther. There were so many cultural references that Africans and African-Americans alike could all relate to in the movie – especially we Nigerians.

If you’ve already watched the movie, then read on (or watch the video above) to see 6 Nigerian references that you may have missed in the Black Panther movie and if you haven’t watched the movie, click here instead to check out the things you need to know about Black Panther (characters, powers, myths, origin, etc).

Boko Haram

When T’Challa went to bring Nakia home to witness his coronation, him and his lead general, Okoye went to rescue her from Sambisa forest. The scene went on to show the Black Panther kicking some serious Boko Haram butt before realising that Nakia was on a mission of her own – rescuing some Chibok girls and other abductees by the terrorist group.

Wakandan Language

The official spoken language in Wakanda is ‘Xhosa,’ which is native to South Africa. Now although Ryan Coogler and the writers created the written language of Wakanda, they drew heavy inspiration from ‘Nsibidi,’ which is native to southeastern Nigeria.
It’s an extinct language which our ancestors used to communicate in around 5000 BC. The language is more specific to Efik, Ibibio, and Igbo people. In Black Panther, the language can be found on the walls, throne, inner lips of Wakandans, and other places.

Mask in the Museum 

During the scene where Killmonger was first introduced, he was seen in a museum of African arts and history. One of the masks he asked the museum attendant to explain to him was of Benin, Edo origin. the mask was a direct replica of one of the great bronze masks that the Edos are known for in history. And it actually fits the narrative also, since many of the oldest bronze works of art have been linked to Benin.

Merchant Tribe

At the first Warrior falls scene– where the coronation took place, we were introduced to the other tribes in Wakanda. There was the Border, River, Merchant, Panther, Jabari, and the spiritual leaders. One missable detail was the clothing the Merchant tribe wore. The inspiration for their clothing came from cloths native to Hausa/Fulani in the North. Kudos to costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, for her amazing work in bringing so many different cultural attires from different parts of Africa to make this movie colourful, great, and just seeped in rich cultural history.

T’Challa’s Traditional cloth

After his coronation, when he went to Shuri's lab to check out the new tech she had developed, King T’Challa was seen wearing a traditional attire inspired by western Nigeria; mainly Yorubas. Really, all that was left was for him to wear the agbada and he would have no doubt had the typical “Yoruba demon” look.

M’Baku's manner of speaking

By far my favourite character in the movie. M’Baku gave us a dose of comedy that the movie may have lacked otherwise. His manner of speaking gave me this serious Igbo vibe. His speech just before fighting T’Challa at the Warrior Falls was one of note, with the way he spoke saying things like, “we will not have it. we Will not have it o.” All I could think of was when Prof. Orubebe gave a speech similar to that and disrupted the counting of the votes during the 2015 elections. In fact, the scene in Black Panther and what happened during the counting process was quite similar in many ways.

It feels good to notice how much of Nigeria was infused into a movie as grand as Black Panther, and even more awesome that Ryan Coogler (knowingly or unknowingly) drew from the major tribes in Nigeria to make sure none felt left out.  

So there you have it, those are the five references I noticed in Black Panther. Are there other references you also noticed that aren’t on the list, please do let us know in the comment section below

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