Ruth Carter on Designing the Costumes of ‘Wakanda Forever’ in the Face of Deep Waters and Deeper Grief
The Oscar winner tells IndieWire about the challenges presented by the undersea kingdom of Talokan and the death of star Chadwick Boseman.
Marvel’s first “Black Panther” movie was a cultural and commercial phenomenon, grossing well over a billion dollars worldwide and earning three Academy Awards, including one for the costume designs of Ruth Carter, who’d been previously nominated for her work on Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad.” For the sequel “Wakanda Forever,” Carter had to retain the satisfactions of the original “Black Panther” without simply repeating herself — all while knowing that the expectations would be stratospheric.
“We wanted to keep Wakanda intact,” she told IndieWire, “but just like any other big superhero film, you enhance it, you upgrade.” Characters like the Dora Milaje, the Wakandan special forces team made up entirely of women, were given new armor to increase their sense of power and menace, while Lupita Nyong’o’s character Nakia received a new submersible suit for an underwater rescue sequence.
The film scholar and public radio fixture tells IndieWire about directing "Is That Black Enough for You?!?" and why the 1970s were the greatest decade ever for Black film.
Elvis Mitchell has been one of America’s great critics, interviewers, and pop culture historians for over 25 years, and with his new Netflix documentary, “Is That Black Enough for You?!?,” he proves he’s a world class filmmaker as well. An engagingly personal yet rigorously analytical and completely original crash course in ’70s cinema, “Is That Black Enough for You” covers all the important actors and filmmakers lily-white New Hollywood retrospectives like “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” left out: Sidney Poitier, Ossie Davis, Melvin van Peebles, Diahann Carroll, Diana Ross, and so, so many more. As Mitchell told IndieWire, there was one clear advantage to his past as a journalist: “When I teach film, I always say there used to be two reasons to go to film school, to have access to films and to have access to equipment. So I had one of those things going for me. I’d seen lots and lots and lots of movies and asked myself questions about those.”
“You so Black, when you smile, the stars come out. You so Black, when you were born, the god come out,” Grammy-nominated spoken word poet and musical artist Theresa Tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. wrote on the first two pages of her newest book, You So Black.
The book is written for youth but has an intentional message to readers of all ages. The words are printed work of her famous poem with the same name, which has celebrated the physical and transcendent beauty of Blackness.
“The poem came in a time maybe like five or six other pieces that I was working on, specifically to kind of tap into my own cultural beauty and in trying to find a way to implant, implement and program that into my audience,” Theresa explained.
Each page is a step-by-step journey through her poem, complete with vivid and imaginative illustrations by London Ladd.
UTD’s Nikki Delk studies breast cancer in her laboratory and takes adult ballet classes in her free time.
Bright piano notes roll through the studio as Nikki Delk curls her fingers around the ballet barre. Delk lifts her heels to go en pointe while the instructor snaps to the rhythm.
As the music picks up, the instructor transitions to more complicated tendus and dégagés. Delk trains her eyes on the mirror, making minute adjustments to stay on beat. She maintains the focus a scientist might need to pipette a precise amount of liquid into a test tube, or isolate a protein inside a prostate cancer cell.
Delk would know: In addition to being a ballet student, she’s a cancer researcher at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Delk has one foot in the sciences and and one in the arts, blending them on a daily basis. In addition to taking ballet and pointe classes, she learns contemporary dance and jazz funk and paints in her free time. She was recently promoted to assistant vice president of research development at UTD and has created an organization that holds events such as art auctions to support her STEM outreach efforts.
She says she’s the rule, not the exception. To her, the sciences and the arts are inextricably linked. The skills she’s picked up from each allow her to excel in both.
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