Since reports about Marvel’s “Black Panther” first came out, Black Twitter has been, for lack of a better word, hype. And this weekend, the community has expressed that excitement through the viral hashtag #InWakanda.
The hashtag, created by Michael Harriot, a writer at The Root, imagined what Wakanda, the uncolonized black utopia and home to Black Panther, would look like in real life. Users ran with the idea and began creating a country that, through law and custom, reflected blackness at its best.
Some began with simple details like “Who made the potato salad?” and others gave shoutouts to classic African-American Vernacular English, such as “the itis.” Harriot was also sure to point out how the dangers of ashiness aren’t a problem in this perfect society.
The hashtag also addresses some of the basic struggles black people experience while living in predominantly white countries. For example, one tweet stated that in Wakanda there simply isn’t a need for STEM programs to teach science, tech, engineering and math to black girls because they already “go together like greens and cornbread.” A few others noted that the only Donald Wakandans acknowledge is Glover and that cultural appropriation might as well be a capital offense.
The hashtag takes, from the cookout-inspired to the socially conscious, all point back to a larger narrative that has encompassed black audiences’ “Black Panther” anticipation. They feel seen.
When Shuri, princess of Wakanda and head of the country’s technological advancements, casually flaunts her new inventions on screen, black women in science become a tangible idea. And as T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, navigates his newfound status as king, audiences see themselves reflected as both leaders and royalty.
In these tweets, Wakanda becomes more than a fictional utopia. It is, as Harriot pointed out, where black lives and black culture intrinsically matter.