By, Andalamia Manakdan
“A sunset backdrop nods to the close of one chapter, while evoking a sense of hope for the future,” said team Ebony when describing the imagery behind their November/December cover shot by Keith Major.
The lighting is emulating bold, warm tones and the melanin is poppin’ as the cast stuns in wardrobes featuring complementary colors that are creating a perfect aesthetic balance. It’s giving volume and draping. It’s giving vibrance and hair. It’s giving elegance! This cover is meant to capture your attention from several feet away. Each castmate is also giving us a gateway into their personalities as they look into the camera in uniquely different ways, sharing what hope means to them with just one glance. Their silhouettes jump out of the photo and everything from the footwear to the up-does, from the posture to the tailoring, is elevating and feels affirmatively regal.
"Ebony has always been one of those heritage magazines that gave us hope, that’s always been afro futurism, because it helped us see what we could be,” said Winston Duke while sharing what it felt like to be featured on the cover behind the scenes.
We’ve seen an expansion of Afro-futurism in films the past few years and Black Panther was one of those trailblazers that pushed narratives celebrating Black voices forward. There has been a boom in Black creatives exercising their artistry as an act of liberation. Black writers have been designing their futures free of social limitations. 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' will make history just as the first film did and continue to open doors for films showcasing Black Excellence.
“The original already established a safe haven for Black brilliance and Black excellence, and an elevated telling of Black royalty,” said Dominique Thorne while discussing what it was like to be a part of the film.
It’s true. We all felt it in the theaters. We felt that safe haven profoundly and have held on to it in hopes that the sequel will bring even more joy to communities around the world.
There have been many theories about how the sequel will carry on after the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman. Some popular guesses include the next Black Panther being a woman. But who? Perhaps King T'Challa's younger sister Shuri or the general Okoye? Wouldn’t that be something?
At the premier of the Marvel sequel, when asked why he chose Rihanna to sing “Lift Me Up,” a powerful ballad which serves as a tribute to the legacy of Chadwick Boseman, director Ryan Coogler told Hollywood Reporter that he was , “looking for artists who embody [the film] thematically,” said Coogler. According to Hollywood Reporter, the songs on the soundtrack will be incorporated into the score throughout the film.
At the red carpet premiere of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' in New York, Ebony correspondent Yonathan Elias asked Lupita Nyong'o, "how does it feel for Black Excellence to celebrate Black Excellence?” Nyong'o shared that she used to read Ebony Magazine at beauty salons in Kenya growing up. This puts into perspective how important Black owned magazines are from a world view. It’s that indescribable feeling that one gets when they’re at a supermarket, a doctor’s office, a barbershop, or any location where there is a soft surprise of electrifying comfort after connecting with a magazine that features someone who looks like you on the cover. It’s even more spectacular when they look as regal as this cast does on the November/December Issue.