Just in case you can’t get enough Black Panther, I thought it would be fun to talk about Shuri, Princess of Wakanda. I will try not to put out any spoilers even though, almost the entire US has seen it. Black panther has become the highest grossing superhero film in the United States, and if You’ve seen the film, you are not at all shocked by the results. Here are three reasons why Shuri is the best Disney Princess.
We all grew up with Disney Princesses. As little girls, Disney Princesses were female characters we could see ourselves in. For girls of color, we had Jasmine and Mulan. You may have had really cool parents who introduced you to something else when you were younger, like Anime or Foreign Television, but everyone can remember seeing a Disney movie when they were younger. For instance, my favorite princess was Jasmine. Even as a child, I craved freedom, to do whatever I wanted, and I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny.
Black Panther saw black representation on the big screen in the grandest scale in quite some time. One of the two most prevalant attributes of the film were the Dora Milajae, strong powerful black women who were the protectors of Wakanda, and Shuri, The Princess. With the need of women of color in S.T.E.M. Shuri couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Perhaps, if Shuri had been around when I was younger (in television or film, I didn’t get into comics until much later), I might had turned out a lot differently.
Shuri as a character is strong willed, compassionate, funny and creative. She creates all of the technology in Wakanda, but also better ways for her community to use Vibranium. In The MCU, as a 16 year old she creates the technology of Wakanda. In other words, she’s considered as one of the smartest person in the pantheon. Stark Who?
My favorite thing about Shuri is that she is so relatable. Sure she’s crazy smart, and in charge of a lot of things that most people in their lifetime won’t touch. However everything else everyone will run into at some point in their life. They’ll have something, someone they will want to protect. Something they will want to preserve. People will have unique interests and try their hardest to create something that will be a positive contribution. Everyone wants to be better than they were before. Everyone wants to eat an herb that will give them super strength. (If you say you don’t, you’re lying.)
Shuri is an Innovator. Not only does she create the technology used in Wakanda, but she’s constantly looking for ways to make her inventions better. In the comics, Shuri even takes on the mantle of Black Panther, and before that she runs the Wakandan army, and teaches at the Academy of Applied Sciences! She gives back to her community in unique ways that will be felt long after she is gone. “Just because it works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”