After playing a supporting role in “Captain America: Civil War,” Black Panther is finally getting his own standalone film — and it looks absolutely awesome.
The majority black cast is unlike anything seen in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe and is a completely welcome change of pace.
Some people, however, pointed to the film’s casting as proof of hypocrisy from people who advocate for diversity in Hollywood. One Twitter user reached out out to John Boyega. It … didn’t go well.
“Hey @JohnBoyega, why aren’t [you] complaining about the lack of diversity of Black Panther’s cast? 9/10 actors are Africans/Afro-Americans,” they wrote.
Boyega, who is not in this film, but has been outspoken about diversity in Hollywood, replied, “Because it’s about time Biiiihhhhh.”
It’s a fundamental (and possibly willful) misunderstanding of efforts to increase diversity on- and off-screen to suggest that the goal is for every movie to have a perfectly racially balanced cast.
The reality is that there aren’t a lot of big budget movies out there that feature majority black casts.
The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s annual diversity report highlights just how disproportionately white and male Hollywood’s top films still are.
A look at the top 100 films of 2016 found that 70.8% of all speaking roles were played by white actors, 13.6% black, 5.7% Asian, and 3.1% Hispanic. A quarter of the top 100 films didn’t have a single black character in a speaking role, 44 with no Asian roles, and 54 without any Hispanic characters.
Fear not, white fans of the Marvel cinematic universe!
You’ve still got the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist representing you. You’ll be OK. I promise.
To date, Luke Cage has been the only black character to get his own standalone streaming show, and Black Panther will be the first to get his own film. Because, like Boyega said, “It’s about time.”