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How 'Wakanda Forever' advanced the dialogue on Indigenous representation in movies

By Mark Brodie
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2023 - 1:38pm
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2023 - 5:04pm

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At this week’s Golden Globe Awards, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” took home some hardware in the best supporting actress category. And the Marvel superhero flick appears to be in the mix for more recognition at this year’s Academy Awards.

The film captivated audiences late last year with a return to Wakanda, the futuristic African civilization. But the movie’s antagonist, played by Indigenous Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, drew great attention as “Wakanda Forever” introduced us to the Mesoamerican community of Talokan. The community is based near the Yucatan region of Mexico.

Manuel Hernandez is an associate professor at Arizona State University's School of International Letters and Cultures. He knows this kind of Indigenous representation on-screen is rare in Hollywood. The Show spoke with him more about the film, including what he thought about that issue of representation in this movie.

Black Panther Wakanda Forever poster
Poster for Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” featuring Tenoch Huerta (top right) as Namor

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