Black Panther was an international smash hit, raking in more than a billion dollars at the box office, and filling the African diaspora with pride. The film was a revelation because it was filled with PEAK Blackness. From its director, Ryan Coogler, to the beautiful brown-skinned cast on screen, Black Panther felt like a Pan-African celebration.
But according to Chadwick Boseman, the film’s star, there’s one thing that could have ruined the party.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Boseman confessed that Marvel Studios initially wanted T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, to speak with a British accent.
“They felt that [an African accent] was maybe too much for an audience to take,” the actor recalled. Thankfully, Boseman didn’t just follow the studio’s suggestion. The Howard University album pushed back.
“I felt the exact opposite — like, if I speak with a British accent, what’s gonna happen when I go home? It felt to me like a deal-breaker,” Boseman said.
“I was like, ‘No, this is such an important factor that if we lose this right now, what else are we gonna throw away for the sake of making people feel comfortable?’”
Instead of speaking like a Brit, Boseman modeled T’Challa’s accent after the Xhosa language, which is spoken in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho.
All hail the King!