[Etc.] Ruth E. Carter
The universe has been anticipating Black Panther since 2016.
The end of Captain America: Civil War gave us the foresight that a individual Black Panther film was soon to come.
2017 — was a slow reveal.
From the director Ryan Coogler. To the cast. To the beautiful fictional land that will forever be real in our hearts.
So we have a great director, cast, setting, and beautiful clothes. But who was the creative mind behind such gorgeous, powerful, and colorful costumes?
Meet Ruth E. Carter…
This Hampton University Alum, has been in our lives for the past 3 decades. Thanks to a friend and casting director Robi Reed (another HU Alum) Ruth was able to land her first big job in 1988 on Spike Lee’s School Daze.
Yup! She is the master mind behind the iconic G Phi G shin guards. The Jiggaboo vs. Wannabee jerseys. Even the infamous black mermaid dresses worn at the pageant. School Daze was just the beginning of her long list of credits. I’ll list those later.
We are a week away from Black Panther’s release. Ruth’s first Marvel movie, and she did not come to play with anyone. She is giving us everything. Inspirations from ancient African tribal traditions such as Nigerian embroidery, and Maasai beads. As well as influences from Suri, Senegal, Himba and Turkana tribes. Ruth and her team even went as far as traveling to South Africa to ask permission from the Lesotho tribe to use their traditional designs.
With all of these influences, I can only imagine how many gracious nods to these tribes and cultures where woven into the costumes. Taking viewers on another journey subconsciously apart from the movie. And connecting many to their heritage.
A few nods have been revealed. After doing a lot of Marvel research Ruth realized that T’Challa’s [Chadwick Boseman] half a million dollar suit needed texture.Triangles are incorporated in a lot of African Art, and Ruth considers them to be a “sacred geometry”. So she developed a textured pattern which is now called the ‘Okavango pattern’. In this pattern she incorporated pyramids throughout the suit. As for Ramonda’s crown [Angela Bassett], it was inspired by the married women of the Zulu tribe.
So now I want to know — Who’s dressing up?
Typically dressing up for a superhero movie or any movie with a serious following, almost always calls for a little cosplay. Whether it’s StarWars, Harry Potter, Batman, or Sex and the City [Yes guys. Women went to the movies runway ready. lol]. Dressing up for the event has become a serious thing, even if it’s only a t-shirt. But I have a feeling this coming week the trend will be taken to a whole other level. And I’m here for every bit of it. I might go out to the theaters just to see the Black Panther fashions. I have high hopes. Social media has gotten my hopes up. The Hollywood movie premiere with the purple carpet, female warriors, and drums has gotten my hopes up. Do not let me down people!! Matter of fact, #BlackPantherFashions is what I’m going to use for anyone and everyone I see out dressed up.
Even Ruth is here for the show…
“I hope everybody does,” she exclaims. “It’s an absolute must that you do something when you go see ‘Black Panther.’ It’s a part of joining … creating the world of Wakanda, coming all the way out into the audience. So they can go get a dashiki, wear a dashiki top, if they’re guy,” Carter suggests. “A girl can wrap a cool little knotted scarf on her head, or if she wants, she can get a neckpiece that has a puka shell or choker. Something,” she pleads. “Do something, you guys!” — AM New York
Even if it’s all black. Lol.
Ruth E. Carter’s Movie Credits: