In Marvel “Black Panther” Winston Duke plays M’Baku the formidable leader of the Jabari tribe, a group of Wakandans who have shunned the use of vibranium and removed themselves from mainstream Wakandan life. When I first saw the film, I will initially unlike his character, however, as the movie progress he quickly became one of my favorites.
I WAS INVITED TO AN ALL-EXPENSE PAID TRIP TO LOS ANGELES COURTESY OF DISNEY TO ATTEND THE #BLACKPANTHEREVENT & #ABCTVEVENT IN EXCHANGE FOR MY COVERAGE. NO OTHER COMPENSATION WAS PROVIDED. ALL VIEWS SHARED ARE COMPLETELY MY OWN.
Winston Duke is as strong, bold and humorous as his character in the film. I had an opportunity to sit down with Winston Duke for an interview. Below are a few highlights from our discussion.
What is it like bring his Character M’Baku to life?
“I feel what was a great opportunity for me with M’Baku was I was given the opportunity to create a new language within that world essentially. And the one thing that Marvel did great that really grounded and created a new world, a new life for M’Baku was that it was a departure from the comics in a sense that it’s no longer this M’Baku being the leader of this religious minority. He’s not the leader of this religious cult, he’s now the leader of an established grounded tribe. So that gives you a lot more agency, it gives you a lot more presence, it gives you a lot more strength and ability within that world. And creating that society that lives outside of Wakanda proper was something that was really great.” ~Winston Duke
How was it working with Director Ryan Coogler?
“What was so great about Ryan is that he allows us as actors to really play and explore the parts and take it places… And you go off and you study this and study that and bring it back and he’s like yeah-yeah-yeah cool- cool- cool- cool- cool- cool- cool- I think I’m going to use that. So he exhibited a lot of trust when it came to us and he exhibited- it was very much a collaborative space. So you’d go in there and you’d try some things out and it would work and it felt very safe. So being in a space with all these juggernauts of talent, you know what I mean, this is my first film.” ~Winston Duke
His thoughts how the movie portrays his character?
“…I understand that being a person of color. Being a black man in this world, I understand the narratives that are on the person, I understand that my body is highly and heavily political, just in its existence, you know what I mean. And that is a place that people who are oppressed understand. And you are always aware of it and that gives you some power, it also gives you agency, because you actually know what’s going on at all times. So that was an example of like him having full awareness of how he is viewed and how he’s seen and what people think of him and manipulating that, you know what I mean. For his enjoyment and his people’s enjoyment. So, it’s a really cool powerful thing.” ~Winston Duke
What is one Life Lesson people can learn from seeing Black Panther?
“…How do we go out and help people with love? How do we go out and help people and share who we are and what we are, without oppressing them. And I don’t know if the film presents an answer, but it asks you other questions, about how would it look like if you did…” ~Winston Duke