The new Marvel superhero movie "Black Panther" premiered in Kisumu, Kenya, Tuesday night. Kisumu is the hometown of actress Lupita Nyong’o, one of the film’s stars.
Tamerra Griffin, a Buzzfeed reporter based in Nairobi, was at the event and wrote about it.
— Tamerra Griffin (@tamerra_nikol) February 13, 2018
She described the event as “Hollywood red carpet meets African elegance.”
Hosting the event was a special opportunity for Kisumu, whose county governor is a fan of the performing arts — and also happens to be Nyong’o’s dad.
It was an opportunity for the city to repair its reputation after it became the site of violent protests over disputed elections last year.
Griffin said it was also an opportunity for Kenyans to take on negative images of Africa, especially following President Donald Trump's crude comments about African countries last month.
“I think that people in Kisumu and in Kenya in general are aware of the way that their country and the way that their culture is often portrayed to the mainstream and how one-dimensional and narrow it can be.”
The celebration of "Black Panther," Tamerra said, “challenges people to confront their own biases and their own one-dimensional perceptions of what Africa is, and who black people are and what they’re capable of."
To the great disappointment of many at the event, Lupita Nyong’o herself was not present. But Tamerra said some referenced a line in her speech at the 2014 Oscars, where she was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her role in "12 Years a Slave." The line was, “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”