Jonathan W. Gray
Associate Professor, English
John Jay College-CUNY

Black Girl Magic? Representations of Innocence and Innovation in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther and Jeremy Love’s Bayou 

This talk considers how Shuri in Ryan Coogler’s 2017 film Black Panther and Lee Wagstaff in 2009’s graphic novel Bayou embody feminine resilience and ingenuity. Building on the work of Nazera Sadiq Wright and Robin Bernstein I argue that these fictional young women revise the Topsy stereotype that treats Black feminine inventiveness as simultaneously incompatible with black girlhood and also threatening to white supremacy. Shuri and Lee and other figures (Riri Williams and Lunella Lafayette for example) point to new representational possibilities in comics and its related media.

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