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Black Panther: OISE PhD student Emmanuel Tabi says film is important for all of society

Growing up, comic book showed Tabi that black men could be smart, strong, inspirational leaders and kings

By Lindsey Craig

February 27, 2018



OISE PhD student Emmanuel Tabi grew up in Milton, Ont., which he describes as like being, "a raisin in a bowl of Corn Flakes.” 

Despite learning about blackness and black excellence from his parents – his father is from Ghana and his mother is from Grenada – he says the mostly white kids at his school didn't believe him when he said there were black superheroes.

But he knew differently.

Thanks to the Black Panther comic book he discovered at a young age, he had King T'Challa as a role model – a strong black leader of the fictional African nation Wakanda.

Today, with the release of Hollywood blockbuster and comic book-inspired Black Panther, Tabi says the movie is important in highlighting what blackness and black excellence means not only to black youth, but to all of society.

Watch the video above to hear his take on why Black Panther is so important.


Emmanuel Tabi's research

Emmanuel is a PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. His work examines how race, gender and class dynamics intersect within Toronto’s urban arts centres and how they are performed through various forms of cultural production such as spoken word poetry and rapping.

As a multi-instrumentalist, spoken word poet and an active contributor to Toronto’s urban arts communities, Tabi provides a unique perspective as both a researcher and artist.

He is in the midst of writing his dissertation entitled, “I too know why the caged bird sings: Rapping and spoken word as activism and education,” which explores how black male youth in Toronto use spoken word poetry and rapping as a form of both community organizing and education.