Yara Shahidi Pens Powerful Essay On ‘Black Panther:’  It Gives Us ‘Permission To Celebrate Our Diverse Culture’

Marvel Studios’ latest film, Black Panther, hit theaters Thursday evening, and the response has been overwhelming.

The film has already broken box office records in the United Kingdom, and it’s poised to do the same here in the U.S, thanks to enthusiastic fans who have been showing up — and showing out — at theaters across the country.

Like the rest of us, Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi is a huge Black Panther fan, and she recently penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter about the impact of the film.

“To understand that a film like Black Panther is possible speaks to the bigger implication that we now have a movie that utilizes a predominantly Black cast securing the same press, the same funding, the same attention from the film studio, audiences and reporters alike left an impression on my soul,” Shahidi wrote. “Films can unabashedly be about the black experiences and how these experiences are not niche but complex and worth living on a global stage.”

In addition to pushing back against the myth that Black films “don’t travel well” and aren’t money makers overseas, the young actress also praised Black Panther for giving her “permission to celebrate our diverse culture.”

Black Panther is breaking barriers as a movie and as a cultural moment; making me feel like I have permission to celebrate our diverse culture, while demonstrating to corporations and studios alike that our art is important and profitable,” she wrote. “The success of this movie is undeniable, and I’m so fortunate that my younger brothers and I are growing up in the era of Black Panther — an era in which our blackness is not only being normalized but honored.

Head over to The Hollywood Reporter to read Shahidi’s entire essay.