Wakanda Forever! We’re Living for Philadelphia’s ‘Black Panther’ Burlesque Show (Video)

Wakanda Forever! We’re Living for Philadelphia’s ‘Black Panther’ Burlesque Show (Video)

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Last Friday night, Philadelphia’s famed Trocadero Theatre hosted an all-black performance of Black Panther burlesque. That night, Black (AF) Panther, produced by Philly burlesque queen Renaissance Noir and hosted by Icon Ebony Fierce, took the stage and amazed the crowd with routines inspired by the hit film.

Noir told WHYY, the Philly PBS affiliate, that she knew she wanted to be part of an upcoming Black Panther burlesque show as soon as she saw the trailer. She said, “The first thing I said was ‘Whoever’s producing this show, I need to be in it.’ And a bunch of other people were like, ‘Why don’t you produce it?’”

The poster for ‘Black (AF) Panther,’ designed by Rachel Wescott

This was the first show Noir produced, and from all accounts she did an amazing job.

Afterwards, she wrote, “Last night’s show was historic for me, and for Philadelphia! (The second I’m exaggerating, the first I am not). Thank you everyone so much for coming out to my first burlesque production! It was rocky, but it was worth it for everyone in the room!”

Noir also said that normally, while doing burlesque, she’s the only black performer. “So, with this one… everyone wanted to see it happen, because we don’t get shows that are all-black. We’re just sprinkled in with other shows.”

Most of the music was from black artists, too: in the clip below, we noticed at least two routines to Janelle Monáe songs, “Django Jane” and “Make Me Feel.”

Performer Foxworth Al-Amin Vorn as the Black Panther. (Photo: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The full cast was made up of eight performers, including Noir who played Okoye, the Wakandan army general. The cast also included Foxworth Al-Amin Vorn, who played T’Challa, the Black Panther himself,  and Icon Ebony Fierce as queen Ramonda and the show’s host.

Though Fierce joked about colonizers, they also spoke seriously about the importance of seeing people like themselves in comics. They said “This is proof that anyone can cosplay.”

Watch the Black Panther burlesque routine courtesy of WHYY News:

Were you at this Black Panther burlesque show? What movies would you like to see adapted to burlesque? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image by Andrew O’Neill from Renaissance Noir‘s Facebook.

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