Women of Wakanda bring Black Panther to Mardi Gras


The Krewe of Women of Wakanda. The krewe formed based off of a love of the movie “Black Panther.”

Cody Downey, Pack News

Over the past 10 years, The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus has combined the worlds of Mardi Gras and science fiction together. However, only one of their sub-krewes brings the fictional African country of Wakanda to life.

The Women of Wakanda is a krewe inspired by the 2018 film “Black Panther,” based on the comic book character of the same name. In the film, Black Panther is a superhero and king of the secret country of Wakanda, a futuristic African country left unaffected by the dangers of colonialism and fueled by the powerful metal Vibranium.

Inspired by the excitement for both the release of “Black Panther” and the arrival of Mardi Gras, krewe captain Wankeeta Jackson said the idea for the group started in a friend’s living room.

“She thought it would be a good idea to have krewe that is just Dora Milaje, who are the women warriors of ‘Black Panther,’” Jackson said. 

Whenever the group was first envisioned, Jackson said that her idea was to have “a whole collective of women with spears and armor just marching through the French Quarter.”

However, after seeing the creativity of the krewe members, the group decided to branch out beyond just the Dora Milaje.

“They were creating looks that weren’t necessarily a part of the movie but that’s how they envisioned themselves as a woman who was from Wakanda or living in Wakanda,” Jackson said.

For Jackson, she said that one of the krewe’s goals was to provide a place for professional women of color to have a creative outlet.

“We wanted to make sure that we had a space for women of color who don’t necessarily see themselves as creatives but wanted to take part in this non-traditional type Mardi Gras celebration,” she said.

As a part of this year’s Chewbacchus, the Women of Wakanda have made a spaceship that will carry DJ Fúnkè playing African pop music, known as Afro House.

“She’s going to be carried on that [the spaceship] through the streets,” Jackson said. “So, you are going to hear us pretty loud.”

Along with the spaceship, the krewe handmakes their own throws including Wakanda-themed magnets, earrings and tokens. 

However, despite enjoying the fun of Mardi Gras, Jackson said that another aspect of the krewe is bringing together women from different professional fields.

“I’m amazed at how many women are actually interested and excited to be a part of our krewe,” she said. “We have women who are from all facets of life from a few different places across the country from social justice warriors to environmental scientists.”

Though she hasn’t always been the biggest fan of parades, Wankeeta’s sister and co-captain Jaleesa Jackson said she joined the group due to the diversity of women involved and the fun that came with the group.

“I’ve gotten to meet so many great ladies that are involved in so many different things,” Jaleesa Jackson said. “That was actually the goal. The goal was to create this space for women that were basically doing their thing.”