By Mukurima Muriuki
Disney gave Ryan Coogler an opportunity, and a budget. At 31, some pundits thought he was too young to direct a 200+ million budget movie, the Black Panther. This is the most budget ever given to an African American director.
Coogler knows how to make (good) movies, and make (good) money while at it. He had $900k budget for Fruitvale Station, it made 16 million. He was given a 40 million budget for Creed, it made 173 million and an Oscar Nomination for “Rambo” as best supporting actor.
Coogler had read about African history, which gave him knowledge about the continent’s diverse culture et al. More importantly, he sought to understand this history and not just rely on written materials. He made a trip to South Africa while researching for the film and came face to face with cultural elements that reminded him of black communities in the United States, allowing him to make the conclusion:
“There’s no way they could wipe out what we were for thousands of years. We’re African.”
Africa has always been great. Black Panther just taps into this, and makes a great movie out of a historical fact.