The Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation hosted a special cultural showcase to celebrate the premiere of the film Black Panther at MovieTowne Tobago and Tobagonians came out in full support dressed to the nines as African royalty.
Globally, movie-goers and theatres have been creating cultural experiences at the film’s screenings, with African-inspired fashion and music being used to celebrate the positive depiction of African culture and the African continent in the critically-acclaimed film.
The Division said it felt the need to emulate this experience in Tobago not simply because it was trending, but also because of the involvement of two sons-of-the-soil in the ground-breaking movie.
Tobago-born actor, Winston Duke, portrays the prominent character, M’Baku, while fellow Tobagonian, motion designer, Sekani Solomon, worked behind the scenes on the main end titles for the movie.
In recognition of their achievements, the entrance to the theatre was transformed into a stage where from 6:00pm, spectators were treated to live music from the Tobago Drum Association, and African dance performances by the Novek Dance Theatre and Zante Dancers.
Patrons for the 7:30 pm screening for the film were also treated to an exclusive video address by Mr. Solomon, who introduced the movie and gave high acclaim to Duke’s performance.
“Having seen the movie for the first time and seeing Winston’s performance, it was utterly amazing to me,” Solomon said. “The guy is just so talented. He really also inspired me to continue honing my craft and keep getting better and better at what I do.”
Solomon also gave a nod to his small-island origins, while encouraging his fellow Tobagonians to strive for success. “Doesn’t matter where you’re from,” he said, “if you’re really, really passionate about something and you really want to be good at what you do, it’s just to keep at it.”
Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, Councillor Nadine Stewart-Phillips echoed Solomon’s sentiments, highlighting that this was one of the primary reasons behind the Division’s decision to host the showcase.
“It is very important for us to not only recognize but celebrate the amazing work our Tobagonian brothers were able to produce in one of the most talked about and celebrated movies thus far for 2018,” Secretary Stewart-Phillips said.
“As the Division strives to promote more participation and appreciation for the Arts in Tobago, it is these types of success stories that we hope will inspire other Tobagonians to pursue their creative passions and strive for excellence both within the island and beyond.”
The Secretary was among the majority of attendees at the cultural showcase who were bedecked in their finest African-inspired fashion. Tribal prints in an array of colours, intricate head-wraps and even a few crowns were spotted as Tobagonians presented an image of African royalty, inspired by the fictional African country of “Wakanda” in Black Panther, as well as by Tobago’s celebrated African roots.