I feel as though this is the perfect time to bring something to the light. March is Women’s History Month and we just slid out of Black History Month…
Did anyone else watch Black Panther and by the end think there was definitely more than one hero in the film? Every character had their moments of heroism, but I would definitely say that Shuri could have had more limelight. I at least would love to see her have her own movie in the future. She really lit up the screen!
I know in the past, we had our eye on RiRi Williams being a big comic book figure for African American women, but Shuri is starting to win over my affection. I mean, she has the whole package! The Black Panther’s powers come from consuming a plant. Yes, it makes him stronger and faster and more agile, but those powers are made better by the suit he wears, designed by Shuri! Shuri’s powers however, come from within. She is intelligent, creative, ambitious, funny, caring, beautiful, AND she’s got the physique to be as bright of a star as T’Challa! If I had to choose a comic book woman crush, Shuri is it!
When it comes to smarts, Shuri’s got’em! She is a younger, more melanated version of Tony Stark. At one point in the movie M’Baku comments at how embarrassed he is for Wakanda that a child is in control of their technological advancements, a child who “scoffs at tradition” at that! Thankfully, he did not come for her womanhood, but coming for her youth is equally bad. Age does NOT determine one’s ability to contribute to a community OR to invent.
The technology Shuri has developed is used throughout Wakanda and sets the nation apart from the rest of the world. From weaponry to bodysuits, to transportation, to medicine, prosthetics, and protection, Shuri has managed to intertwine vibranium into the DNA of Wakanda. She saves life without risking her own. She improves lives just by manifesting her own ideas. Show me another black female who has created a magnetic transportation system and helps fight bad guys all by/at age 16… I’ll wait.
To accompany her technical intelligence, Shuri surely has creative genius. The proof is in the inventions. Firstly, two words: arm cannons. Secondly, instead of wearing an Apple Watch or having cell phones, she creates a Kimoyo beaded bracelet with multiple functions. Each bead had a different action, one is equipped with medical assistance, used to stabilize the government agent; another is a communicator that produces a hologram of the person speaking; another controls things around the city.
However, I think one of the COOLEST displays of technology created by Shuri was being able to control a vehicle from a remote location! With technology like this, you can send your vehicle to pick up your groceries at Walmart Pick-Up; you can safely chase and cut off a criminal without risking the lives of law enforcement; just imagine the benefits if this technology really existed! Seeing it on the big screen was awesome, but thinking about this kind of thing becoming a reality is what really blows the mind! Shuri’s creativity MUST NOT BE SLEPT ON! Her and her creativity are essential assets to Wakandian culture!
Shuri’s ambition is inspiring. This young lady is nowhere near done improving her nation. She is glued to her and has a never-ending excitement about her work. She is confident in what she does and has a classic childlike curiosity about the endless possibilities of vibranium. She does what she loves, is eager to share her creations, and really puts in the hours to make things happen, values we can all learn from.
Lots of little sisters get a bad rap for being brats or unpleasant sometimes, but Shuri is really funny and caring. She is not a quiet sibling hiding in big brother T’Challa’s shadow. She is vibrant; she is present; she does “too cool for school handshakes” and she cracks jokes during serious moments. Her youth is a pleasant break of tension in the film. Shuri is also supportive. She’s a fighter, helping her big brother in the best ways she knows how. I would love to have her as my tech provider or little sis any day! SIDENOTE: If you peep STEMedia on Instagram, you can see Letitia Wright (the actor who plays Shuri) rap a few bars too!
I would like for us to take a moment to just appreciate the undeniable beauty of Shuri. From her smile to the “out of this world” clothes she wears, to the haircut design in the back of her head, she is just amazing! Her style is futuristic and graceful and fun. She wears fishnet dresses with tennis shoes. Even when she is in traditional Wakandan attire, she shines.
In the comics, Shuri really is a superSHEro. Though not really highlighted in the movie, she has an essential role in not only T’Challa’s success, but all of Wakanda. With beauty, an innovative spirit, and a passion for family, nation, and science burning within, Shuri honestly could prosper in her own movie. Just like The Black Panther, she could inspire young people (especially women) as well, if not more since she is a youth herself. Black Panther made history last month, but I look forward to the historic impact Shuri has on women, on African Americans, on youth, and on STEM.
This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!
Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson