GHANA VS MARVEL: CULTURAL ASSERTION OR A FOOLS ERRAND?June 7, 2019
A few days ago there was a story circulating discussing the intentions of the Ghana National Folklore board to take legal action against marvel for their alleged wrongful use of Kente in the 2018 Black panther movie. It also indicated that the board intended to go after Starz for their inaccurate depiction of Ananse.
The story was received with much skepticism, with many voicing their doubts and stating that the Folklore Board had no case. It has been sometime since then and the Folklore board recently tweeted that it had no intentions of suing marvel. The story seems to have died down since but that does not necessarily mean that’s the end of things…or does it?
The board further tweeted that it was poised to assert Ghana’s IP rights albeit through non adversarial means. The story raised a lot of questions and though many seem convinced that the National board had no case I for one don’t think it’s that simple.
Marvel of course had no ill intent, Black panther was a beautiful attempt to put the spotlight on Africa but to think they just decided to nitpick parts of a people’s culture without even bothering to give them a heads up and then went ahead to use it as they pleased is quite distasteful.
The likes of Greece and Britain are the biggest victims of course, and that is why it is ironic that an African country is the one taking this up but I think it should be expected.
Africans may have more reason than anyone to be concerned about how America portrays them..let’s face it global media and entertainment has been brutal in it’s representation of the continent…the likes of Mcduffie had to fight hard for blacks to be fairly represented in mainstream comics so we cannot fault blacks for been cautious and a bit defensive when it comes to some of these matters.
Fortunately things are changing but does it mean we just forget about yesterday? Africans need to actively shape how the world views them and that means they can’t just let entertainers do what they please for the sake of well….entertainment!
I don’t know how the board intends to deal with this going forward and I don’t know how a judge would handle a case like this…if it gets to that….but I do know that Africans cannot afford to take a matter like this lightly. In the end culture is a sacred thing, it’s an important part of a people and as such it should be respected!