The Black Panther fever will not die down as the movie keeps breaking boundaries worldwide. It took in $27 million in weekend ticket sales, pushing its domestic gross to $605.4 million, and its international haul to about $1.2 billion.
The now 14th-highest-grossing movie of all time has become more than a work of art, but a movement aligned with black empowerment, black excellence and unity. This feeling has rolled over from the set to many international stages where important personalities have gestured the Wakanda Forever salute.
The crossed-arm salute was used in the film by the Wakandans as a greeting in the fictional third-world nation that is secretly rich in natural resources and technologically advanced than the rest of the world.
Wakanda Forever now signifies strength, solidarity, defiance and resistance like the Black Power fist that was popular during the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. United States gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos demonstrated for Black Power at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City where they raised their clenched fist as the anthem played.
The fist has since become a symbol of protest and a political statement, but the Wakanda Forever has become a symbol of victory and racial pride.
American tennis player Sachia Vickery who is ranked 100th in the world crossed her arms on her chest for the Wakanda Forever salute after defeating the third in the world, Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain in California.
— WTA (@WTA) March 10, 2018
She told WTA Insider that the movie is“taking over my life. I have seen it four times already. Literally, I’m obsessed. I have watched it twice here. I may just keep watching it because it’s been working out so well for me.”
Her gesture in March follows that of French tennis player Gaël Monfils who also gave the crossed-arm salute after winning his match against Matthew Ebden. He told Sport360.com: “It’s not just a sign. It’s everything. It’s everything going on and definitely it’s a shout-out saying that I’m supporting the Black Panther’s community.”
— Nikhila (@kokudum) March 10, 2018
The salute transcended into soccer in England where Steve Mounie and Collin Quaner celebrated a goal against West Bromwich Albion by making the gesture last month. This was repeated by teammates Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba the following day during a game against Chelsea.
Wakanda forever. pic.twitter.com/LIZwGaRXrD
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 25, 2018
In Canada, Kenyan rugby player Collins Injera did the same after scoring his 250th try during the World Rugby Sevens.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) March 11, 2018
Clearly, the salute is here to stay for the right reasons and it needs to be institutionalized. Wakanda Forever!