Black Panther Fanfic Writing -Masterpost


Can White People write Black Panther Fanfiction? Yes.

@charliemalo asked:

Ok, so I went to see ‘Black Panther’ recently, and I adored it. Everything about it was sheer perfection. I especially loved the women of Wakanda. As soon as I got home I started looking up fanfictions about them. I’d love to read more about their adventures – Nakia’s time as a War Dog, Okoye’s ascension through the ranks of the Dora Milaje, literally anything about Shuri. Sadly, there’s not a whole lot that I could find (yet). Unless I wanted to read about them as watered down love interests (I don’t).

So, I started thinking about that age-old writing advice – write the story you want to read. I don’t know a whole lot about the Marvel Universe, most of my knowledge comes from the recent films and even then it’s pretty spotty. I’m somewhat confident that me and the Marvel Wiki probably have it under control. (If that’s a wrong assumption, I’m all ears).

No, my issue is that I’m white. AND I’m British.

Not only would I be writing about an entirely black cast of characters from a white perspective (eek), I’m also risking coming in and stomping all over this triumph. What’s your advice on this? If this isn’t my story to tell (right now, or ever), then I absolutely respect that. Are there other pitfalls that I’ve not even seen?

[ask clipped due to length]

Sure thing. Not only fun in itself and experiencing our favorite stories again, fanfiction is a great trial run for writing original stories and it’s best to make mistakes and receive those critiques now then in a published work. It’s also easier to go back and edit questionable content on the spot vs. in an officially published work. 

Being white doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write Black characters. Particularly when you’re writing them having good times and adventures, and not simply struggling and suffering. 

Here’s my advice:

  • Obtain an appropriate beta reader for the story idea and content
  • Read Black-fan written BP fics (and African-based works in general)
  • Research further into Wakanda and its characters to get the details right
  • Do general research in regards to writing Black characters 
  • Avoid tragedy exploitation plot lines (See this Ask)
  • Avoid prioritizing white characters over Black characters

I’ll elaborate on some of my points below.

Regarding Wakanda Research:

There’s information on how the movie pieced together the distinct cultural elements of Wakanda. I would follow the lead from the movie and comics in regards to dress, piercings, culture etc and write from the path they’ve paved. 

Here’s just one article as a resource: Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ is a broad mix of African cultures—here are some of them

Now, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees with their manner of deciding on elements, or that some ideas may not be outdated from the comics (I haven’t read them, so i’m not sure. Followers, feel free to chime in if there’s something we should be aware of!) 

You may want to check out arguments written by Black people on all sides, and on what could’ve been changed or improved. Your safest bet is to follow the lead of what has already been established, though.

As for researching Black characters and worlds in general; just because it’s fan fiction doesn’t mean we should cut our research short, so definitely make sure you do that. 

Regarding reading stories in African settings:

I suggest you read fiction that takes place in African countries. Fantasy, cyberpunk, futuristic settings, and so on, with thriving communities. Avoid the “poverty porn” Sad Africa books.

Tragedy Exploitation Plot Lines:

Please avoid applying colonizing fantasies onto Wakanda. That just rubs me the wrong way. One example would be uprooting Black royalty with white people (I’ve seen people who desired certain white female superheros to become princesses of Wakanda…)

On the other hand, avoid making white people oppressed in Wakanda. That falls into that weird reverse-racism “Black people are the oppressors when you give them power!” thing that is misleading and also wouldn’t ring true to the Wakandan way.

Again, followers (Black folks in particular) if you have more insights, please add onto this. 

~Mod Colette

Alternative Universes – Black Panther

@stillusesapencil said:

Dear WWC, I would possibly like to write some black panther fanfiction. I adore aus, and so I was wondering what is appropriate/not appropriate for an au featuring these characters. NOT SLAVERY AUS. (why anyone likes that, I don’t know). But would a coffee shop au feat. Nakia and T’Challa be ok? What about Okoye and W’Kabi in college? Black Panther is an amazing movie, and I want to treat it with respect. Thank you!

These themes sound cute and sweet. I don’t see a problem with them. As you’re staying clear of grotesque alternative universes, I’d say have at it. 

Keep in mind that Wakanda is a place of empowerment for Black people, though. Any themes that play with stripping Wakanda from its powerful advanced universe via slavery, colonization etc. I would discourage, especially from someone outside of the African Diaspora. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t face outside pressures and threats, but i’d be sad to see it “on its knees” so to speak.

You seem to be on the right track, though.

~Mod Colette

Using Colonizer Casually against White People/Jokes at White People’s expensive (BP as Example)

@shayesworld said:

If a black protagonist used the word ‘colonizer’ in reference to a white person would it come across as empowering or humorous or just antagonize them and make them less sympathetic? Is it supposed to be use jokingly or seriously? I was wondering because of Black Panther’s use of the word by a black protagonist towards a white protagonist, and my character would be using the term in a similar manner, but I don’t want to include it if it’s too problematic or divisive.

Depends on the context. In Black Panther, it was clearly said in a jesting, light-hearted manner when a British white man scared the princess. Made more appropriate because a) outsiders were in no way welcome or expected in her country and b) white people kindaaa colonized surrounding countries all around her.

It wasn’t there to make viewers think less of Shuri in any way; while the shade was real, it wasn’t meant to be taken far too seriously. It definitely made me and my whole theater laugh!

Some people are offended by any manner of humor at white people’s expense, so yeah they may dislike a Black character who does this. (These are probably the same people who respond to light-hearted white people jokes about unseasoned chicken or rhythmless dancing with racial slurs and taunts about slavery, though, soooo).

Light-hearted jokes like this can be a coping mechanism, and are not often used/taken seriously. You’ll see many of the intended recipients play right along into the joke, particularly with those they’re close with. I would in no way see it as “tainting” a character as a bad person, especially if their whole persona isn’t just walking-talking white people jokes.It certainly might get annoying or confusing in that case; are they trying to be funny with a joke that’s getting old, or do they actually have a racial grievance they’re expressing?

For that reason, i’d avoid overdoing it. Also, run the joke by a Black reader just to ensure it doesn’t come off as forced. There’s no need to include these jokes in order to appear edgy or make the character seem socially-aware. Only place it there if it’s appropriate to the situation and her personality.

~Mod Colette