Chadwick Boseman will star as the regal King T’Challa of Wakanda and centerpiece of the Black Panther movie in 2018. In a fascinating profile, the 40-year-old actor speaks on the Wakandan accent and adds that the choice to use it in the role is an essential affront to white colonialism and supremacy.
You spent a lot of time thinking about how the king of an advanced African nation speaks, specifically your accent, your intonation. Tell us about it.
Boseman: People think about how race has affected the world. It’s not just in the States. Colonialism is the cousin of slavery. Colonialism in Africa would have it that, in order to be a ruler, his education comes from Europe. I wanted to be completely sure that we didn’t convey that idea because that would be counter to everything that Wakanda is about. It’s supposed to be the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. If it’s supposed to not have been conquered — which means that advancement has happened without colonialism tainting it, poisoning the well of it, without stopping it or disrupting it — then there’s no way he would speak with a European accent.
If I did that, I would be conveying a white supremacist idea of what being educated is and what being royal or presidential is. Because it’s not just about him running around fighting. He’s the ruler of a nation. And if he’s the ruler of a nation, he has to speak to his people. He has to galvanize his people. And there’s no way I could speak to my people, who have never been conquered by Europeans, with a European voice.
Read Chadwick Boseman’s full interview with CNET by following this link.
Photo: screen cap