With Wakanda Forever hitting the big screen this weekend, I’m feeling all sorts of emotions — mostly, pride and love and grief and hope. When I watched Black Panther years ago, I was awed, inspired, and heartened. It opened so many doors that were once locked.
It was just beautiful. Epic.
And as a writer, I felt inspired to write a story that encompassed my own heritage and something I totally love. And with Black Panther gracing the big screen once more, I couldn’t help but reflect on this story: a mix of two things I adore.
Fairy tales and Mythological Tales
I grew up a quiet and simple life. And I loved reading. I loved watching movies. I loved storytelling. I used to imagine myself as Cinderella. After devouring everything Cinderella, the first time I saw a Cinderella who looked like me was Brandy. I remember rushing my family back home to watch it.
It was just so beautiful, I cried.
I didn’t know back then that I’d ever be a writer. But something about seeing her changed in me. It told me it was possible for black girls like me to be princesses, warriors, and even legends too. And they could hit that big screen like a storm! Couple that with stories of fearsome mythological creatures, and legends I used to hear around the fire and I had a story in me, bursting to be told.
That was the birth of the story that I churned decades later, the story that’s on sub, the story I hope one day will make it into the hands of readers.
A Cinderella retelling, with a fantastical and Shona mythological twist.
“We never should underestimate the power of not only representation but storytelling.” Danai Gurira (on Sky News)
Regardless of what happens with this story, whether it’ll ever find a publishing home, one truth remains, I truly believe I was always meant to write it, and it’ll always have a home inside my heart.
With any luck, one day I’ll get to share it.