Killmonger’s Battle with Oppression in the Film "Black Panther."

Date of Event



Killmonger’s Battle with Oppression in the Film "Black Panther."

Brief Description

Killmonger's battle with oppression was due, in part, to the isolationist policies of his father's ancestral home of Wakanda.

Extended Description

Throughout the term, we have been learning and broadening our knowledge on afrofuturism. Black history and culture shown through futuristic society and science-fiction are of the main elements that compose afrofuturism. I very much enjoyed the film, Black Panther. For me, and I am sure for many others, it was another great Marvel superhero movie. Watching a film more than once, you can pick up details previously unnoticed. Black Panther became much more than just a superhero film; there was an underlying message, the struggle of Black people in America.

Wakanda’s isolation can be seen as villainous in some aspects, yet in the film the character Erik “Killmonger” Stevens is considered the antagonist. In Oakland, CA. Killmonger and others were oppressed, helpless and struggling to survive. It was clear to see how this affected Killmonger throughout his life. His intentions were always pure, but there was a level of corruption that came with his actions. Killmonger wanted nothing more than to help the oppressed, but Wakanda stood as a deterrent. Isolation is embedded in Wakanda’s history and tradition because it is beneficial to them. Wakanda turns a blind eye to the oppressed. If Wakanda opened itself up, the advanced technologies could have helped countless people throughout the world. I would not like to think that anyone would choose to ignore someone in need.

Killmonger wanted to change this narrative, and he did. Killmonger wanted to change the system; the unfair system that left kids like him deprived. Killmonger had his sights set on his own justice. He never wanted to conquer Wakanda, although this is how it may have seemed. He wanted revenge for his father’s death. Killmonger had a plethora of reasons behind the atrocities he committed. He did not have anything close to an easy life. Stripped of a father at an early age, Killmonger already started at a disadvantage to his Wakandan cousin, T’Challa, who has everything that Killmonger deserves. Killmonger sees everything that T’Challa has and feels extreme jealousy. T’Challa lives as royalty with his father while Killmonger suffers, fatherless in Oakland. Does Killmonger deserve this unfair life? He doesn’t. The older he gets, the more he realizes the truth. His father, Prince N’Jobu, was killed for wanting to help the oppressed by any means necessary. After seeing the tragic state of the underprivileged neighborhoods like Oakland, the Prince could not bear to sit around and watch people of African descent suffer so greatly. This only pushes Killmonger to carry on his father’s message. Killmonger is at no fault for his violent upbringing. He grew up having to fight for himself constantly, especially with no father figure. His idea of caring for someone is very corrupt. Especially after being a CIA operative who invades and destabilizes governments. For him, caring for someone involves toughening them up and teaching them to fight for themselves. This is because of the environment Killmonger was forced to grow up with, and the tragic experiences he had to face.

Killmonger truly wanted to help and protect the oppressed but he could only help them the ways he knew how. Killmonger challenged and beat T’Challa for his birthright to the throne, making him King of Wakanda. The way he knew how to protect the oppressed was allowing them to fight for themselves, toughening them up, and by giving them Wakandan guns and weapons. He wanted the oppressed to challenge the higher power authority and claim what they deserve, just like KIllmonger did.

"Black Panther: Killmonger Challenges T'Challa to Ritual Combat [CLIP] ." YouTube, uploaded by TNT, 21 October 2020

"Black Panther: The Fate of N'Jobu." YouTube, uploaded by The VideoGod, 14 May 2018,


Oakland, CA.

Student creator name(s)

Ben Brevetti

Afrofuturism Canon




The film "Black Panther" shows the system of oppression in United States in Oakland, CA. Killmonger is born in Oakland but he is a member of the Wakandan royal family. He is deserted by his uncle, the King of Wakanda, after he murdered his brother (Killmonger's father). King T'Chaka makes an excuse for his actions by claiming that he wanted to preserve their traditions and protect Wakanda.

Item sets