To bring Wakanda, Black Panther’s fictional African nation, to the screen, director Ryan Coogler and his crew travelled throughout Africa and drew from various African cultures and practices to create a new African nation that had never been colonized. Through shaping the rich and self-sufficient culture of Wakanda, the film explores how Western society often undervalues African culture and ancestry. In a Black Panther press conference in Los Angeles star Chadwick Boseman talked about how these themes made it especially important to him that Black Panther spoke with an African accent.
“I think as actors…when you're trained, you're trained very often from a European perspective. What is considered great or classical is very often British and it's certain writers. I happen to come from a background that does not believe that. I went to Oxford to study, but I went to Howard, and we were taught to respect our writers and our classics just as much, and believe that it takes the same skill level and same technique, and sometimes techniques that are a little bit different to pull that off.”
“There was a time period where people would ask me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character who spoke with that accent...I became adamant about the fact that that is not true. That the intonations and melodies inside of an African accent are just as classical as a British one, or a European one, and that all of the emotions and aspects of a character can be shown, and expressions can be shown through that accent, and we have to take this opportunity to show that.
Boseman also touched on the fact his accent is perfectly normal, considering the world he grew up in. The movie stresses that Wakanda has been free from outsiders since the beginning of time, and the dialect in the movie reflects that, explaining “he actually got his education at home, and he would not been assimilate a language that is the colonizer’s language in order to speak to his people, so he had to speak with an African accent.”
You can catch T’Challa and the rest of Wakanda in Black Panther when the movie this theaters on February 16th.