Black Panther actress, Danai Gurira describes her character “Okoye” from the highly anticipated Marvel comic’s film as a “traditionalist.”
In an interview with Elle magazine, Gurira describes how her character Okoye (considered one of the wives in training for T’challa) first love is her country Wakanda and protecting it.
“She’s really nothing like the character in the comic book at all. I actually loved that, I loved the reinvention of her, Danai shared with Elle. She’s in love, but her first love really, honestly, is Wakanda. I loved that about her. That both her and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o who is also one of the wives in training) put that passion for the thing they believe in before even their passion for a man. I thought that was really, really beautiful in her.”
“It was very important for me that [Okoye] was a traditionalist. She believes in how this country has worked forever and she wants to retain that and keep that intact. She has a pride and a patriotism about her nation. It goes beyond patriotism; it’s something even deeper. Because it’s so connected to being on a continent that has been ravaged by foreigners, by the assault of colonization and all that came with it. Seeing that through the ages and protecting this one place from that assault, seeing that was done by her forefathers and her foremothers in a very specific way.”
Danai was then asked her thoughts on Black Panther affects on young, black and African children.
“I was in Zimbabwe early last month and the excitement around this idea of a Marvel movie being told through the African prism was overwhelming. The excitement was amazing. It floored me, the impact this movie is set to have, if even where I’m from, there is that much excitement around it. How often do we get to see a portrayal coming from the continent? And it’s celebrating the continent, and celebrating African aesthetics, and celebrating African cultures and language, as well. Celebrating all those things and people of African descent.”