Black Panther director Ryan Coogler’s letter to fans: ‘it still humbles me’


If you haven’t seen Black Panther, I highly recommend you do. It’s a beautiful film with a fantastic cast playing complex and well-developed characters. Marvel dispatched the stock villain in favor of a much more flushed out and thought-provoking opposing force. I was able to get tickets to see it last Sunday. It really lived up to the hype. I’m not going to discuss the story because I don’t want to give spoilers. I’d love to though as it was incredible.

Black Panther is not just a superhero film, it’s a celebration. Many dressed up to go see it and broke out in dance and song while waiting in line. You could feel the electricity in the air as you approached the theater, I was so thrilled to have been included.

Ryan Coogler directed Black Panther. Right now, he could be sitting atop his record busting opening receipts, 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating and outpouring of admiration on social media and touting his own achievements. But he’s not. Instead, Ryan took a moment to thank the fans and film-goers for being so vocal in their enthusiasm and helping this movie be a massive success:

I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try. Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up [of] amazing people from all over the world who believed in this story. Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent.

Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters often moved me and my wife to tears.

For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world, all before even seeing the film…

To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn’t yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out…

And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends…

Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.

Ryan Coogler

P.S. Wakanda Forever

*Passes out tissues* Beautiful, right? Ryan grew up in Oakland, CA and recently told NPR, “for me, the pressure’s always been there, ’cause I’m in a career that’s unexpected, in terms of where I’m from and what I look like, you know, how old I am.” And yet, he is humbled by the reaction this film got. Everyone needs to go out and watch Ryan’s other films, Creed and Fruitvale Station. Actually, go watch other films made by this cast and crew too.

People who were following Black Panther on Twitter likely also saw all the other Marvel characters sending support. In addition, director Ava DuVernay was all over Twitter with Black Panther love:

Captain Marvel Brie Larson spent her weekend connecting donors to teachers and organizations hoping to take kids to see the film who couldn’t afford the ticket price:

I learned over the weekend about something called the Black Panther Challenge. The Challenge lists all the events in your area surrounding ways to support Black Panther, not just donating to get people to see it but lectures and readings as well.

This film’s significance is being felt around the world. Here’s a clip with actor John Kani who plays T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father, in which he discusses voting for Nelson Mandela in 1994, the first election he was allowed to vote in at the age 51:

PS – the reason the younger version of T’Chaka looked so much like the older version is because the younger version was played by John’s son, Atandwa.

I want to share something that Nelson Mandela said to me. . He said, “With the type of fame that you have attained it is important when you encounter your fans that you — Reach Your Hand Out and let them Feel Your Flesh. You have to prove to them that you are REAL — because people can not aspire to anything they do not believe is Real.” . So I say to you, Congratulations! Enjoy this Transcendent Moment. Go into the streets… Touch them… Let them know that you are real! . @chadwickboseman, @michaelbjordan @lupitanyongo @letitiawright @danaigurira @danielkaluuya @im.angelabassett @andyserkis @winstoncduke @sterlingkbrown @rmorrison @therealstanlee @ludwiggoransson @iamruthecarter #blackpanther . With Pure Delight WILL 🙂

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on


Photo credit: WENN Photos, Twitter and Instagram

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38 Responses to “Black Panther director Ryan Coogler’s letter to fans: ‘it still humbles me’”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    In a world that just sucks on a daily basis it’s wonderful to read something about real people on the public stage being so great. Kudos and I hope he goes on to bigger and greater projects.

  2. LizLemonGotMarried (aka The Hufflepuff Liz Lemon) says:

    We saw the film this weekend and I was literally on the edge of my seat with my hands to my face-what an amazing piece of art. I think everyone who sees it-regardless of skin tone-is Wakanda Forever-and what a culturally vital moment in the face of such ongoing blatant racism.
    On a purely surface note, how stunningly beautiful are Ryan Coogler and Zinzi Evans?

    • V4Real says:

      The acting by most of the cast played a huge part . It’s a comic book film that doesn’t require you to reach that deep. But the way they performed made it seem like more than that, way beyond any other Marvel film. I was a bit disappointed with Lupita, I don’t think she brought her A game.

      Coogler did a fantastic job. I hope this pave the way for more films with a heavy Black presence. Black actors and films are marketable. We just have to get out and support them. Don’t just talk about it, be about it.

    • Ceire says:

      Stunning! I’ve had a bit on a crush on Ryan Coogler for a while now, and his lovely wife is my current eyebrow goals.

      Seriously, Hollywood people talk a lot about the power of Film at the Oscars and in interviews, but here is a film which is actually changing the world. In terms of representation, visibility, conversation, accomplishment, pride… in so many ways. I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but I mean it. I love this movie, and watching the whole reaction from all over the world through the Internet has been so much fun.

      I can’t wait to see what happens next. ❤️

    • Megan says:

      We went to see the film on our anniversary and we loved, loved, loved it, but the next day we both thought the politic of the movie had a strange aftertaste.

      • GirlMonday says:

        Meagan, I’m curious to know more about what you mean by aftertaste. Tell us more….

      • Megan says:

        Without spoilers, the issue is the perspectives of T’Challa and Killmonger. Even if Killmonger’s approach was wrong, his argument was compelling.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    Coogler and Michael Bae are teaming up again to do a school cheating story…the one covered by Rachel.Aviv in her essay, “Wrong Answer”

    Not only are these folks humble and great, but versatile as well.

  4. Maya says:

    No spoilers please – going to see this movie this weekend with a group of 10 friends.

    And CB readers, can we please make these kinds of threads about amazing and humble people the most commentated? Instead of other waste threads about c listers divorcing, fashion etc..

  5. CairinaCat says:

    I watched it today with my husband
    It makes me so happy it’s doing phenomenally well.
    I see it as a clap back to all the racists that voted for and support that orange POS in office right now.
    I plan on seeing it a bunch more times.

    For the record I’m 48 and white, I push people to go see this movie who wouldn’t ordinarily go.
    Like my mom, I’m going with her this week
    I also saw proud Mary and I’ll see her new one too.
    I want diversity and women driven films damnit,! And I’ll do my part to make that happen

  6. Jker says:

    No, YOU’RE crying!! This is so long overdue and seeing the reactions to this, experiencing my own wave of emotions, it’s all so, so cool and I think we all need this so much.

    I know this movie/moment is not about me or for me in all the ways it it is for many of you, but i hope it’s ok if I sit here in the back crying joyful tears, grateful to be witness to it’s full hearted, culture changing, ground breaking greatness.

    Wakanda forever <3

  7. Nicole says:

    Every time i think I cannot shed another tear over how beautiful this film was, how it felt to be in a crowd of black people CELEBRATING their blackness or the general community support I do.
    Yesterday Brie Larson confirmed that her pay it forward initive sent 500 people to the movie. The Black Panther challenge raised 6 figures in donations. People rented out entire theaters so people could see the movie. That’s community that I’ve always known was there but people ignore for negative stereotypes.
    Up next is AWIT and we are moving to send girls to the movie. Black excellence indeed.

  8. grabbyhands says:


    Our audience was a bit of a dud, but it was amazing to watch the people going to a special viewing party while we were waiting to go in. The cross section of people – young kids, teens, seniors and whole families going together, everyone dressed to the nines. There were a few costumes, but mostly people wore their colors. So wonderful.

    The movie surpassed all the hype, all my expectations. Marvel dragged their feet on this, but at least they utilized the time to find a perfect director, cast and crew. Ryan Coogler managed to make a superhero movie that managed to ask difficult questions that needed to be addressed without taking away the action and fun, because we still need those things. I love how much love and support has been show to this film-it has been such an antidote to all the ugliness on the planet right now.

    On a purely shallow note, I was crushed to see that Mr Coogler is married. Sigh. I’ll have to be happy with my new appreciation of Michael B. He needs to always have dreads.

  9. Eric says:

    All of a sudden, SacTown is the rage. Addin some Greta, mix it with micro-breweries, a dash of awesome restaurants, and some relatively affordable housing and you have the makings of a truly great city.
    If you work in government, consider Sacramento. One of the most ethnically diverse cities in the US to boot.

    • ktae says:

      Represent. SacTown is awesome. The California school boards association is bringing our annual conference there in three years. Have to represent and show school board members from all over the state why Sac is special.

  10. Coz' says:

    I cannot wait to see it this weekend.
    Ryan Coogler is so talented. And really really hot

  11. Chef Grace says:

    My daughter and I saw it Monday. I want to see it again.
    Not a crowded theater, mostly whites (Texas)
    but it was hushed the entire movie.
    It left us emotional. I told my daughter “IF ONLY” after the movie was over. And not the super hero aspects nor the advanced tech. The message it gifted the viewer with. The stories it told. This was not just another Marvel movie. It was magical. Honestly, I never felt I was watching a super hero movie.
    You quickly forget it was .

  12. Léna says:

    Saw it the day before I left France for Erasmus. I’ve been partying (maybe too) hard for three days and I’m so tired – I couldn’t help but cry reading his words.

    Even my mother who doesn’t like super hereos movies liked it!

  13. Maria F. says:

    love seeing all this love for the movie and the cast.

    And as much as there are certain aspects of Will Smith I do not like, his instagram is pure joy. He is very funny on it.

  14. Iknowwhatboyslike says:

    I had such an amazing time when I went with my husband and children. When I heard talk about people dressing up, I liked the idea, but didn’t think much people would. When I walked into my local movie theater, that’s usually mostly white, color me surprised when I saw a sea of black people dressed UP! Head wraps, scarves, and straight out full-on outfits. We looked out of place. I actually felt bad for not dressing up. I’m so happy for the cast and Mr. Coogler, who look as if they like each other, and truly believe in this project. Good for them. I am so proud.

    Can I say, as I was looking at the crowd size for Black Panther, I kept thinking about how much this movie and the message in it is a precursor to what we’ll see in 2018 and 2020. I feel like everywhere, marginalized people are showing up to prove to the people who want to erase us that we were asleep before and we aren’t anymore.

  15. lightpurple says:

    I think the most meaningful, long-lasting impact this film may have is due to the voter registration drives that have been organized in some lobbies where the film is showing.

  16. Jayna says:

    Ryan is so talented. I have watched a lot of different onstage conversations he’s had regarding this move, and his others. I love those type of videos, because you really get behind the director’s vision, etc. We are seeing the movie this weekend. I watched one little video where he met with film students sharing his wisdom, creative process, etc. There was an interesting one on music and scores for movies and soundtracks for movies, and how he was taught that early on in film school, before learning things he thought were more important, and then realized how important that is in telling a story. He talked to students about establishing contacts and relationships in the industry and surrounding yourself with people like that that you enjoy working with. He said as an example, music composer Ludwig Goransson, who scored Black Panther, is his longtime collaborator as far as scoring his movies. He said they met in college, Ryan a film student, Ludwig studying music. They made a strong connection. And Ludwig scored Ryan’s short movies in college and since then his movies from Fruitville Station on. Ludwig is also the producer of Childish Gambino, and they began working together after Ludwig used to score the TV show Community, and he and Danny Glover Jr. became friends. It was very interesting talk with Ryan about establishing connections. I love these smaller discussions by directors, etc., because I’m not creative and I am fascinated by the creative process. Ryan is beyond talented as a writer and director.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, will this weekend, but here is Ludwig in a video he posted talking about the challenge of doing this movie and how he traveled to Africa to travel and learn about traditional African music precolonization from revered musicians. It is fascinating. It shows how he started the movie with the beautiful out-call with Baaba Maal, one of Senegal’s most famous musicians.

    • Tiffany says:

      And both are barely in their 30’s. Ludwig’s resume reads like someone who has been around for decades.

    • NightOwl says:

      Inspiring video – I love the behind the scenes and all of the artistry involved. Thank you for the link @Jayna!

  17. Common sense says:

    I can’t wait to watch Black Panther, I am still working out a way to see it; I need a babysitter for my three-year old. BP is already the second highest grossing movie of all time here in South Africa and I predict it will soon be the highest because the excitement is feverish. I can’t wait to contribute to this historic moment.

  18. t fanty fan says:

    I am white, in the South, and our theatre was full and everyone was completely enthralled with the movie. Love it! Planning to see it again this weekend! Brilliant move and Ryan Coogler deserves ALL the praise!

  19. Lucy says:

    Bravo, Mr. Coogler. Very much deserved. I only need to see FS now. Also, his wife and him look so lovely together, right?

    • Tiffany says:

      They are gonna make beautiful future filmmakers.

    • Megan says:

      If you haven’t seen Creed, I highly recommend it. We took my mother in law because she was a life long Rocky fan and we were blown away. Coogler and Jordan are an amazing team.

  20. psl says:

    I love that this movie is doing so well. Maybe Hollywood producers will finally take notice that a black cast CAN “sell” a blockbuster.

  21. Turtle says:

    The panther squeezing into that little box MADE MY DAYWEEKMONTHYEAR.

  22. Trillion says:

    If Ruth E. Carter doesn’t win an Oscar for her amazing artistry in this film, I will be so mad. I can’t wait to see this AGAIN. It is EVERYTHING.

  23. GirlMonday says:

    I’ve seen it four times and I’m down to go again. Oakland and WAKANDA FOREVER

  24. teacakes says:

    I’m loving the way this movie has blown the roof off every box office prediction, I love it so much. I really hope this is a comprehensive stfu to studios trying to hold out against diversity, and I wouldn’t be surprised if BP breaks a billion at the worldwide box office – Ryan Coogler and the BP team deserve it!

    Question to those who know: do you have to be familiar with any of the Rocky movies, to be able to watch Creed and have it make sense/not miss out on stuff? I gave it a pass when it came out because I didn’t know anything about the Rocky movies besides their theme bit it looks like I missed out.

    • Tiffany says:

      No you don’t. Adonis relationship with Apollo is explained in the first 10 minutes of the film.

  25. Elisa says:

    love this letter! Also, Everyone should watch Ryan Coogler’s break down of the casino fight scene. Amazing! (After seeing the movie as spoilers ahoy!)