All Black Panther Everything.

Look.

Last night my world was turned up-the-fuck-side-down by Black Panther and I will tell you right now, I have not recovered. I HAVE NOT RECOVERED.

I’m saving my thoughts (or at least the big ones) for next week’s post which means y’all got a WEEK to get out there and see it before our discussion (a highly generous offering on my part since this movie is actual history being made), but since I literally cannot get it out of my system, I wanted to take this Fashion Friday to mention all the beautiful looks that came out last night and dissect the choosing of mine in particular.

First of all, literally everyone in the theater looked like African royalty, no lie. Me, a first-generation African person, felt showed the fuck up. I was like “Damn am I even from Nigeria??” These people really had me out here questioning my whole lineage.

I have never been prouder or happier to be in the company of a moviegoing audience. What my ass SHOULD have done was gotten pics of all of the amazing outfits to show y’all but I’m not gonna lie, I was starstruck. So instead I’ll show y’all the picture we got from the official organizers (shout out SD Melanin!) and talk about the meaning behind my look.

So y’all already knew I was going to wear some African shit, like that much was clear. And the connection there is pretty readily seen, my entire family being from Nigeria and all. But my favorite part of putting the look together was realizing how the different elements felt meaningful to me, particularly in the pairing of my earring choice and shoes with the dress.

For earrings, I opted to wear gold bamboo hoops, because a) they’re fire, but b) I’d say they’re a pretty big staple, if not symbol, of Black American culture. They’ve often been called “ghetto”, “ratchet”, “hood”, but just like long ornately decorated fingernails or durags, they seem to be quickly making their way (read: appropriated) into mainstream fashion.

In my own story, there’s been a line I have danced along my entire life between being African, American, and Black American. Uncertain of where to land, feeling like I’m appropriating every culture without belonging to any. But I’m learning that I can embrace and incorporate all parts of my Self. I’m learning that the lines I tiptoed around may not be as sharply drawn as I thought. Wearing these earrings, a marker of black culture, with a Nigerian gown felt like collecting parts of myself that had been scattered. Bringing me back to me.

A similar story goes for the boots, though somehow theirs feels simultaneously less and just as personal as the rest. These boots remind me of the Black Panthers, the social justice organization. They’re nod to power, a proverbial black fist raised in the air. These boots feel ready for combat, strong, unapologetic(ally black).

The combination of my Nigerianness, my Black Americanness, and my penchant for yelling on soap boxes about racism felt fully represented in my outfit last night. I cannot begin to convey to you how full this makes my heart.

EVERYBODY GO FUCKING SEE BLACK PANTHER NOW I’M SERIOUS OTHERWISE WE’RE NOT FRIENDS.

Okay we’re for sure definitely still going to be friends but it’s a really important movie and you should go see it okay thx byeeeeeee.