Hollywood is having a black girl moment. That’s right, coloniser! Melanin has been dripping off the big screen for little over a year, creating new stars, new social media challenges – and women have very much been at the centre of it all, both in front and behind the camera. Hidden Figures, which came out in the US in December 2016, told the true story of the three African-American mathematicians who played a pivotal role in getting US spacecraft into orbit. It made more than $200m globally. Then in the summer of 2017 came the brilliantly bawdy comedy Girls Trip. Grossing more than $140m, the film introduced global audiences to the actor Tiffany Haddish, and provided an invaluable education in the many uses of a grapefruit.
We had to wait until February of this year to learn that the smartest person in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Bruce Banner (the Hulk), but a 16-year-old Wakandan girl named Shuri, the sister of T’Challa, the Black Panther. Shuri, played superbly by Letitia Wright, along with her female co-stars present an image of black women rarely seen on the big screen: they are strong but not masculine; gloriously adorned but not exoticised; honouring their traditions and cultures but not dictated to by them. Read more