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Black Panther: World of Wakanda Wins GLAAD Media Award for Representation Marvel Keeps Leaving out of Movies

Okoye and Ayo in Black Panther: World of Wakanda

While it’s disappointing that companies like Marvel or Disney haven’t caught up to 2018 when it comes to the desire and need for inclusive storytelling in film (particularly films that are inclusive of the LGBTQIA community), it’s even more disappointing when they allow creators to go to all the trouble of being inclusive in the source material, only to very purposely not adapt those elements.

Still, that inclusive source material is out there, inspiring people and making people feel seen. Last night, GLAAD rewarded many of those efforts, and presented Marvel’s Black Panther: World of Wakanda—created by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, and artists Afua Richardson and Alitha E. Martinezwith the GLAAD Media Award.

World of Wakanda takes the focus off of T’Challa a bit, and puts a greater focus on the country around him. At the heart of the story are two of his Dora Milaje, Ayo and Okoye, who have fallen in love, and question where their loyalties lie: to the throne, or to the Wakandan people. Their relationship is amazing in that!

And then we have the Black Panther film, and for all that it was great and respected the hell out of women (both in front of and behind the camera), it managed not only to cut any romantic interest between Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Florence Kasumba’s Ayo, but it made sure to give Okoye a male love interest for good measure.

Here’s hoping that this award inspires Marvel to get off its corporate ass and finally deliver, in filmed content form, a queer relationship that is at the forefront of the story. Most moviegoers are ready, and those who aren’t probably wouldn’t have gone to see your liberal trash for a million other reasons anyway.

Or they would just to hate-watch it and complain. Either way, being inclusive is smart business. Get on it!

(via io9, image: Marvel Comics)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.