I went into lightweight Marshawn-Lynchesque “beast mode” this weekend. I’m sure many movie geeks and comic book nerds, particularly those of African descent, recently did the same. “You know why I’m here,” I thought while the owner sized me up from the checkout counter as I entered my first comic book store in years. After finally getting around to seeing the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe offering, Captain America: Civil War, it was time to pick up my first two installments of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ current Black Panther comic book series.
The Twitterati seems to be sharing in the excitement as #BlackPantherSoLit and #WakandaSyllabus are trending topics worth checking out. Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan are already onboard, and there is speculation about who else will join what is rumored to be an amazing 90 percent African and African American ensemble. Thanks to a brief but scene-stealing appearance by beautiful and charismatic Uganda-born actress Florence Kasumba, there is much anticipation of the Black Panther movie slated to be released Feb. 16, 2018 — not only for Chadwick Boseman’s lead character — but also for the all-female Wakandan security detail known as the Dora Milaje.
The buzz for Black Panther on the big screen will undoubtedly build to a frenzy over the next year and a half, so here are a few things to know about the Dora Milaje; let’s call it a mini Wakanda syllabus:
1. The Dora Milaje, potential queens and wives-in-training for an unmarried king, are also known as The Adored Ones.
2. They first appeared in the Black Panther comics in 1998, about three decades after Black Panther’s first comic book appearance, in a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four.
3. Hailing from all over Wakanda, the all-female unit was established to create harmony among rival tribes. Though Wakanda has a tribal government, it is the most technologically advanced nation in the world because of its use of its valuable natural resource, Vibranium.
4. Using a combination of various martial arts and native fighting styles, they are formidable foes to even well-trained soldiers and ninja.
5. One of the Dora Milaje, Chanté Giovanni Brown, was born in Wakanda but raised in Chicago after her parents’ death. As a teen, she became an activist of sorts in the Windy City, calling herself Queen Divine Justice until Black Panther came to Chicago and informed her of her true heritage, daughter of the chieftain of the Jabari tribe.
I humbly submit a nomination for Yaya DaCosta to play Queen Divine Justice. Hey, a brotha can dream!