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Black Panther sequel is in theaters and attendees once again held nothing back from exuding Black excellence in their outfitsbut, it’s much more than just fashion.

Atlanta resident Ericka LaShaye entered the AMC Parkway Point 15 theater in Atlanta wearing a stunning full-length, no shoulder, deep v-cut pleated dress made of Kente cloth-inspired patterns with a high split on the side from Amazon and accessorized with a matching fan (compliments of her cousin who brought the fan from her travels to Ghana) and green mules to tie the look together. She was off to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Photo + Ericka LaShaye

When the first Black Panther film hit theaters in 2018, moviegoers wore the finest white, black or African culture-inspired attire in droves. Black Panther was Marvel’s first predominantly Black superhero movie and most successful with a gross of $1.3 billion worldwide. Fast forward to 2022 and the sequel was met with the same anticipation and energy from moviegoers and the outfits speak for themselves.

“It was imperative that I dress up for the premiere,” said Erica Rawlins.

Erica found her premiere look at a local store inside Stonecrest Mall located in Stonecrest, GA called, Ashanti Pride. Throughout their collection of clothing items from Ghana, Erica chose a red, blue, and gold patterned halter neck dress as her look for the premiere paired with Cowrie Shell hoop earrings.

Photo + Erica Rawlins

“I wanted to be intentional down to the white face paint,” said Erica. “While I have yet to visit the continent, I feel like learning about African delicacies, music genres, the significance of certain attire and diverse cultures are my first steps to embarking on the journey to trace my roots.” 

Kayla Boyd saw Black Panther in her home of New York City wearing an all-Black ensemble that consisted of a jumpsuit from Good American, layered with a sheer mock neck top, a black faux leather jacket from Rebdolls, and accessorized with a gold statement necklace borrowed from a friend and combat boots, but the symbolism lies within the makeup.

Photo + Kayla Boyd

“I also added a pop of purple to my eye look because I’ve often seen that color used in promo images for the film and I read that purple is a color of femininity and womanhood in many parts of Africa,” said Kayla.

This Is More Than Cosplay, This Is A Celebration Of Life…

For each of the women, dressing up to see Black Panther was not only to make a stylish statement, it was about celebrating life. Each woman, although in different locations, is tied together by a commonality — a celebration of Black impact whether from a celebrity or a loved one. 

“Earlier this year, I lost one of my best friends,” said Kayla. “He was a kind, loving, incredible Black man and watching Marvel movies together was kind of our thing. Black Panther was both of our favorite superheroes because of the way it shows so much pride in Black and African culture. This franchise will forever remind me of my friend and how much we enjoyed watching the first one together.” 

Erica, a product of the historically Black institution of Clark Atlanta University, wanted to ensure through her attendance that she also honored and paid respect to a fellow HBCU grad, the late Chadwick Boseman

“Knowing this movie honored the late star Chadwick Boseman, an HBCU graduate who inspired so many on and off the screen was a must,” said Erica.

Known for his iconic role as Black Panther amongst many other monumental roles in his life, Chadwick left a worldwide impact. Now the baton is passed to the Shuri played by Letitia Wright and the impact continues to live on.

“Dressing up was important because we were proud,” said Ericka. “Proud of Ryan Coogler [director of Black Panther], proud of Chadwick [Chadwick Boseman], proud of the cast, and proud to be Black, beautiful and powerful. Don’t ask us what movie we hear to see!” 

See below for more of their looks:

Sarai Thompson

Sarai Thompson is a multi-hyphenate digital content creator, social media coordinator, photographer, and event planner with a specialty in topics surrounding fashion and beauty. Sarai has written for publications such as, CNN, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Popsugar, Medium, Seriess Magazine and more. She received her B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Journalism from Georgia State University along with an M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper and Digital Journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

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Ericka LasShaye

Awesome read!!!

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