The Real Wakanda: General Okoye

Sometimes things that appear too good to be true can in fact be true.  For the past week I have consumed the new Black Panther movie three times in an attempt to absorb the full richness of the experience.  This was one of those rare times when I walked into an experience with extremely high expectations and walked out with my mind completely blown and my heart so full that it has taken me days to come to the point of being able to put a few words to the experience.  In order for me to scratch the surface, I am breaking down my reaction into manageable pieces because I could literally write a novel about all of the things I’m feeling as a result of watching this film.  For today, I will begin with General Okoye.

I need for y’all to understand that the character embodied in this performance truly moved me to tears on more than one occasion.  The sheer grace that shines out from her every motion is captivating.  Her personality is layered and rich with so much.  Okoye speaks to the warrior woman in me as a sister in arms.  She fights, she loves, she serves and she feels deeply.  Okoye knows exactly who she is and what she stands for as her own independent self.  It is not an easy thing to be soft and strong at the same time.  Simply put, Okoye is an aspirational figure for me.

Okoye puts in work.  She is not intimidated by or hesitant to command and take care of a given situation.  I feel the presence of each and every matriarch that lives within my bloodline when I see this woman staring at my through the screen.

I also admire how Okoye commanded the respect of everyone in the room with her. The Dora Milaje follow her unflinchingly.  The armor, the sisterhood, all of it helps me to remember that when black women come together to get a job done and set aside their egos…glorious things shall follow.

And did you see her in all her glory on the battlefield standing for what was right even when her husband had sided against her and the nation. Okoye is the very definition of heart and strength.

My General also reminded me that it is important to remain oneself even when your duty requires that you adjust your attire. Okoye is no less regal in her “Americanized” play clothes than her Dora armor. She slayed so hard in this dress.  I have dress envy.

I’ll end this reflection with an opportunity for each of you to reflect on another fact that is little spoken of in the West.  Africa has had a number of REAL female rulers and military genii.  If you would like to learn more about them and which one you most closely resemble, I recommend you take this quiz I created last year.

Which African Queen Are You?

Click HERE to take the quiz.

Let me know your quiz results in the comment box and what you took away from your experience meeting General Okoye. I’ll be back with more Black Panther reflections.

Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Lubbock, Texas. For more information on her current projects visit

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