🎧 Longing for Wakanda | On the Media | WNYC Studios

Three armor clad women from Wakanda
Listened to Longing for Wakanda by Brooke Gladstone from On the Media | WNYC Studios

How the utopian kingdom at the center of Black Panther falls into a long history of black liberation struggles.

On Sunday night, Marvel‚Äôs Black Panther¬†film won the Oscar for three of its six Academy Award nominations: Ludwig G√∂ransson for Best Original Score, Ruth E. Carter for Best Costume Design and Hannah Beachler and Jay R. Hart for Best Production design¬†‚ÄĒ¬†just a few of the artists who helped bring Wakanda, the Black Panther‚Äôs mythical homeland, to life.

A persistent site for utopian¬†longing, Wakanda has once more captured the public imagination: endowed with unlimited access to the most precious natural resource in the world, unsullied by the ravages of colonialism, Wakanda has reignited¬†conversations about what black liberation can and should look like. According to Johns Hopkins University history professor Nathan Connolly, this latest chapter¬†is¬†part of a much longer tradition of imagining and reimagining black utopias. Connolly speaks with Brooke about how Wakanda arises from a 500-year history ‚ÄĒ from Maroon communities to Haiti to the actual Black Panther movement ‚ÄĒ a¬†journey that takes us from "dreams to art to life, and back again."

This segment originally aired on February 23rd, 2018.

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