Black Panther is an amazing movie, in more ways than one. It shows a beautiful sci-fi fantasy world. It shows as an unapologetically African superhero, in T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and the Black Panther. It tells a complex story that’s both dramatic and relevant to today. It’s got huge fighting rhinos.
Amongst all of this, Black Panther shows us a diverse and powerful squad built around T’Challa. Whether it’s his ex-girlfriend and spy Nakia, his sister Shuri, or his mother Ramonda: Black Panther’s ensemble of friends, family, and colleagues are a great blueprint for the types of people you should surround yourself with.
Support can come from...anywhere
Black Panther’s squad hails from all corners of his world: scientists, warriors, royalty, ex-lovers, and even found by pure coincidence (like Agent Everett Ross).
...Or former rivals, like M'Baku
The good news is that there’s no one way to find friends: you can find them online, at your workplace, at school or uni, or by literally bumping into them on the street. T’Challa shows us that being willing to form new friends, no matter the circumstance, can lead to great things.
Our differences can make us stronger
You’ll hardly ever see eye-to-eye with everyone, and that includes those closest to you. Instead, being open to differences of opinion and life experience can be an absolutely worthwhile for you and your mates.
Much of the drama in Black Panther comes from how T’Challa and those closest to him view Wakanda’s place in the world. Everyone has a different idea of what that should be, especially with T’Challa as king. But, just like in life, the solution is found through mutual respect, compromise, understanding, and kindness to everyone’s opinions and beliefs.
Sharing matters. Be open to sharing, any way you can
Shuri, T’Challa’s little sister, isn’t just another pesky younger sibling like we often see on screen. Even though she’s often pranking her older brother, she finds her own ways to show her affection towards him: like sharing her immense scientific knowledge with him by creating unique gadgets and designing his signature Black Panther suit.
Being able to share in any way that you can is a not only a great way to show you care, but also a great way to bring every else up with you. Whether it’s sharing your unique skills among friends, or just sharing a meal, it’s a special act of kindness that benefits everyone.
Be ready to stand up for what’s right
Sometimes, life will pull you or your friends into the direction of a hard call or decision. And sometimes, those decisions may not line up with yours. In Black Panther, this plays out on the grand scale over loyalties to the nation of Wakanda and to T’Challa, as the country slowly fragments due to the actions of antagonist Erik Killmonger.
But in real life, these decisions can be anything from deciding when to reach out for help or when to protect someone from harm. Big decisions, especially involving yourself or someone close to us, will always be prickly. It’s worth remembering at these times that everyone is aiming for the same goal, and that the best squads have each other’s best interests at heart.
There’s value in experience and wisdom
To gain the powers of the Black Panther, T’Challa is transported (via a mystical herb) to the ancestral plain, where he is greeted by his forefathers to discuss the road ahead of him. Putting the magical plant aside, T’Challa’s journey here pinpoints an important part of his support network: his heritage and those that came before him.
Connecting with someone older that you trust can help you get the support that you need when you need it most. Likewise, it’s good to remember those that came before you in whatever obstacle you face. They’ve traversed a path that you now travel, and they’ve come out the other end with the expertise to prove it. For that alone, they’re priceless.