Marvel’s blockbuster Black Panther doesn’t hit theaters until February 15, but the anticipation is already reaching a fever pitch; tickets sold out so fast that even Luptia Nyong’o (who plays Wakandan operative Nakia) couldn’t get them. And this is one of those times, where the hype is totally worth it, because every newly released film trailer is seemingly better than the last. Plus, its female roles are diverse and multi-dimensional, with nary a petty rivalry in place, and its mere existence is helping bridge the pay gap for actors of color. Oh, and did we mention Kendrick Lamar produced the soundtrack? The rapper told The Verge, that scoring Ryan Coogler’s film was a “great marriage of art and culture” — and there is no better visual representation of what all of these things mean to the culture at-large, than the red carpet during Monday night's premiere in Los Angeles. The dress code stipulated “royal attire,” and we'll be damned if that purple — the color of royalty — carpet didn’t deliver.
It’s refreshing to see Hollywood’s leading Black actors and actress take this opportunity to remind us that red carpets can be fun. No one skipped out (no shade to the Grammys), and there wasn't a sea of black dresses, either. Instead, actresses upped the ante by wearing bold colors and voluminous silhouettes, like Angela Bassett's stunning bright yellow Naeem Khan jumpsuit and Issa Rae's white Rosie Assoulin gown with a holographic inset. Nyong’o, meanwhile, matched the carpet in a regal custom Versace dress, and when she later uploaded a photo of herself to Instagram, she captioned it, “purple reign.”