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C’mon, Marvel! How Do You Not Invite Roxane Gay or Yona Harvey to the Black Panther Premiere?

image: Marvel Danai Gurira and Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther

We were all excited about the Black Panther premiere (I mean, those purple-carpet photos, tho!), and are even more excited for this movie to finally come out! However, as we were looking through the premiere photos, which seemed to include famous faces from all walks of entertainment, including Black Panther comic writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, there were two faces that were notably absent.

I have a confession to make. While I enjoy Black Panther as a comic, T’Challa’s probably the character I’m least interested in. Sorry, dude. But when I go to Wakanda, I’m there for Shuri and the Dora Milaje. When World of Wakanda came out, overseen by Coates and written by Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey, I squeed a mighty squee, because it focused on the women of this world. Two queer women in particular. Then, it was canceled after six issues, and I cried a mighty cry.

Still, Gay and Harvey, two black women, were writers on a very recent Black Panther title. It would make sense that they, along with Coates, be invited to this stunning, culturally important premiere. Especially since Coates was apparently seen in attendance:

Now, I haven’t heard anything from or about Yona Harvey’s feelings on the matter, so I don’t know that situation. I only know about Gay’s tweets.

Despite her honesty about her feelings on her personal twitter, Gay doesn’t wanna make this a thing, and doesn’t want to distract from the enthusiasm over the movie. To be honest, I don’t think that her tweets could dampen enthusiasm for this movie. It’s already breaking Fandango records, and is outpacing Batman v Superman in presales.

Still, she might not want to make this a thing … but I do. Because her series about the Dora Milaje made me truly give a shit about this whole thing, and a slight against that title and a slight against these women feels like a slight against me as a Marvel reader. So yeah, I’ll make it a thing. It’s bad enough that Marvel couldn’t find it in themselves to allow World of Wakanda title to grow, but to not even invite the two women who had a major hand it? One of whom is a New York Times bestselling author and a force of nature in feminism?

You’ll notice that there’s a tag on this article called “marvel why,” for times such as these when we just have to ask … “Marvel … why?” Like, what the hell are you thinking? Like, I know that the film side and the comics side are two different entities, but Coates got invited, so … ?

What’s messed up is that the entire story of Black Panther is how this King is supported by the powerful women in his life. T’Challa would be nothing without his mother, his sister, his beloved, his female warrior army. Ryan Coogler, as director of the Black Panther film, seems to have gotten the message, and surrounded himself with talented and powerful women in his stunning black female cast, and his brilliant female cinematographer, production designer, and costume designer.

To think that Marvel would be able to tell that story while simultaneously slighting the black women involved in supporting them and their propertynot to mention drawing in readers like me who want to read about powerful women of coloris not just a little bit infuriating.

(via The Grio, image: )

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