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The women of “Black Panther” shared with Variety how Ryan Coogler’s film showcases female power.

Angela Bassett, who plays Wakanda’s queen and T’Challa’s mother, said the women in the film represent how women are celebrated in African nations.

“That queen is [T’Challa’s] mother, his sister, the all-female guard.” says Bassett, “Behind-the scenes it’s Ryan Coogler with his first AD [assistant director, Lisa C. Satriano] his director of photography, his costume designer, his production designer. They are kings because of the queens.”

The women of Wakanda are also large part of a council that advises King T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman. While others are a group of warriors called the Dora Milaje which includes actress Danai Gurira as Okoye. Breakout star Letitia Wright plays T’Challa’s sister Shuri who isn’t just royalty herself, but the driving force behind Wakanda’s exceedingly advanced technology. 

Lupita Nyong’o, who stars as Nakia, praises the depiction of Shuri as a young, tech-savvy woman is “powerful.” “It’s a really important image for young girls to get,” she adds.

Nyong’o also points out that all the women in this Marvel movie buck past stereotypes for female characters. The film is devoid of triangles or catty moments, “[we’re] all very specific, very individual, very powerful in our own ways—therefore, very effective and influential.”

Black Panther” launches into theaters Feb. 16.

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