Passport To Wakanda: Where The World Of Black Panther Becomes Real Life

  • Published on Aug 17, 2019
  • Wakanda might be a fictional place but a version of it comes to life in Chicago every summer.
    After several trips to the movie theater to watch the record-breaking superhero film “Black Panther,” David Barthwell and his two siblings enlisted the help of their friends to create their own Afrofuturist utopia.
    “We found Wakanda to be a place of radical inclusivity, a place of feminism, a space where there is economic independence and a strong focus on community, a space of education and a focus on technology,” said Barthwell in a VICE News interview.
    This summer, the group organized a weekend of black empowerment and creativity for the second time, dubbing it “WakandaCon” in homage to the fictional uncolonized African kingdom. The “Black Panther” film’s influence at the convention is pretty clear - from the cosplay to fight choreography workshops.
    But the real draw was the aspirational concept of Wakanda. Organizers say 3,000 people attended the second annual WakandaCon.
    “There aren't many spaces where we can be ourselves without being policed by other people,” said Me’Lisa Lashon, dressed in an original costume “Miss Wakanda 2019”, partly inspired by her days in Texan beauty pageant scene.
    WakandaCon is among a handful of conventions like Blerdfest and BlerdCon that formed over the past several years as a more inclusive alternative to mainstream cons.
    VICE News went to Chicago to see what it looks like to recreate Wakanda.

    Subscribe to VICE News here:
    Check out VICE News for more:
    Follow VICE News here:
    Facebook: vicenews
    Twitter: vicenews
    Instagram: vicenews
    More videos from the VICE network: www. vicevideo

Comments • 345

  • Jan Valach
    Jan Valach Day ago

    We Wuz Kangz N´ Shieet

  • loki katzbalger
    loki katzbalger Month ago +1

    A "fictional" uncolonized African country.

  • Jay Anthony
    Jay Anthony Month ago

    Day raysissss

  • Jay Anthony
    Jay Anthony Month ago


  • fernando torrera
    fernando torrera 2 months ago

    I wish they explained why they liked wakanda over all the other black súper héroe / universes. I wonder how many of them are actually comic fans or just started because of the hype of wakanda.

  • A C
    A C 3 months ago

    Great interview!!

    CAESAR 0F ROME 3 months ago


  • 3DSgeek
    3DSgeek 3 months ago +8

    There is a real place called Africa, instead you neglect it and pay tribute to a fictional world created by marvel.

    • Sharon Idaeho
      Sharon Idaeho 3 months ago +1

      Ikr, I'm getting tired of this nonsense 😂😂

  • michaelgerard2
    michaelgerard2 3 months ago

    I wonder if they know that in the comics, wakanda is EXTREMELY xenophobic and looks down on all countries including black countries.

  • Lex B
    Lex B 3 months ago

    No wonder Soros saved Vice from bankruptcy.

  • crash018
    crash018 4 months ago

    Can you imagine the amount of shitstorm that would occur if white man would do such event ? And call it for example WHITEkanda ? Equality is dead and buried...

  • Jumper F22
    Jumper F22 4 months ago

    “Black” is not a race. Everything associated with “black” is negative. We and every other minority have different shades of brown skin. No ones skin is black no ones skin is white.

  • DCtheGod
    DCtheGod 4 months ago

    Imagine having no real cultural achievements so you celebrate a f*cking movie lmao

  • M Hughes
    M Hughes 4 months ago

    Smh, what a bunch of utter wankers. Anyone would think these people have lived through slavery their whole lives. I would be interested to know the % of black America thag suffers from mental disabillities.

  • Comrade Vlad
    Comrade Vlad 4 months ago


  • Epic Rants
    Epic Rants 4 months ago

    The only place wakanda will exist is in your imagination, blacks have had thousands of years to amount to something incredible but never have

    • Sail into the Sun
      Sail into the Sun 4 months ago

      Thousands of years is a drop in the bucket in human history. For millions of years all of humanity was flinging poo at each other. The fact that Europe and Asia developed faster than Africa or American Indians or Polynesians is just a bit of luck, geography and circumstance. I wouldn't pat yourself on the back too hard for the Melatonin content of your skin.

  • dimi g
    dimi g 4 months ago

    This is so stupid the movie was over rated

  • J M
    J M 4 months ago


    • Sail into the Sun
      Sail into the Sun 4 months ago

      I'm pretty sure if you showed up none of the cosplayers would tell you to leave. There's a difference between white people celebrating their already superior position in the world and a bunch of black folk trying to create a space for themselves to be nerds. Is it really that threatening to you?

  • Victor Beckler
    Victor Beckler 4 months ago

    When I heard safe space I knew this was all bullshit. But if a white person created a place where only whites can go yeah that's racist but not with black people. Every one is welcome but I didn't see any other race other than black. Now that's racist!

  • Water Goddess
    Water Goddess 4 months ago +1

    I wish there were black ppl like this in my city. There ARENT A LOT. I get picked on for being nerdy. 😔

  • Ryan lex
    Ryan lex 4 months ago +1

    I just came back from african. I can't even find africa city that look like wakanda😂😂😂😂

  • Angel Medina
    Angel Medina 4 months ago +3

    We're just going to forget about Blade? He was the first black leading role in a superhero movie

    • AKHYTA
      AKHYTA 3 months ago +1

      Spawn was first

  • Asilia African Animal Ranch

    Sssssssshhhhhh Wakanda is real... I live there.. Mambo from Mwanza Tanzania Africa ❤️🇹🇿❤️🇹🇿❤️🇹🇿❤️🇹🇿❤️🇹🇿❤️🇹🇿

  • Konipaca
    Konipaca 4 months ago +2

    imagine the smell

  • Grundle Munch
    Grundle Munch 4 months ago +1

    black people are so cringe

  • MegaSteven011
    MegaSteven011 4 months ago +2

    3:38 A WHITE MAN

  • ZavionSteel
    ZavionSteel 4 months ago +1

    "The person on the right is more likely to be called the black version dva" well... diva isn't black sooo.

  • Lasharm 96
    Lasharm 96 4 months ago +1


  • The Offender
    The Offender 4 months ago +2

    Here we go again! All black segregation, totally fine! While white people have been having a comicon for generations that was all inclusive, but that’s not good enough. So now people that are nostalgic about white comic characters decide to have a Caucasiancon! How well would that go!!I can’t wait to hear the backlash!!
    I am so tired of every people of every color segregating themselves and acting as though it’s OK and it’s some sort of liberation when all majority of white people have been doing this entire time is trying to include everyone so they don’t feel bad

  • Yongama Mbodliso
    Yongama Mbodliso 4 months ago +1


  • Na m8
    Na m8 4 months ago +1

    I see black ariel made it to Wakandacon.. lol

  • Zero Livero
    Zero Livero 4 months ago +2

    If Wakanda is about Black Empowerment then feminism should not be part of it. Feminism exists due to oppression but however our ancestors were the first to allow women to own property and be equals in government (Egypt). Therefor to say that feminism is required in a black empowerment movement is a disrespect to true negro heritage because in every negro village the woman is the backbone of society. Period

  • Llaura M
    Llaura M 4 months ago

  • Akash kharat
    Akash kharat 5 months ago

    We Wuz Kangz 'n Sheeeiitt...

  • Not Moria
    Not Moria 5 months ago

    Black panther was shit, no hate but The story was so boring....

  • Dre Miles
    Dre Miles 5 months ago +1

    Fantastic!!!! idea full of excellence!!!!!

  • Jeffe Villadelobos
    Jeffe Villadelobos 5 months ago +6

    Qiddist ashe, the afro-ecstasy dance facilitator isnt even black, figured someone woulda lost their minds in there and not let her in

  • blacknrd05
    blacknrd05 5 months ago +3

    This was beautiful to see!

  • S C
    S C 5 months ago

    These people would loose their shit and go into full on 'cultural appropriation' mode if a white guy showed up as a character from Glorious Republic of Wakanda

  • Hydra
    Hydra 5 months ago +43

    "More inclusive" = Blacks only???

  • Hydra
    Hydra 5 months ago

    This is so delusional and stupid.
    The black community is being aborted to extinction and the media are giving them delusional direction.

  • Cap'n Hands
    Cap'n Hands 5 months ago +31

    Black panther is diverse? Do you know what diverse means?

    HAMMER 5 months ago +3


  • EveningStreets
    EveningStreets 5 months ago +20

    I need this kind of time, money and privilege.

  • MiraiStar 未来星
    MiraiStar 未来星 5 months ago +7

    People in the comments really don't get why this is important and it's sad.

    • King Ebura
      King Ebura 5 months ago

      @MiraiStar 未来星 or maybe all y'all nerds are a bunch of socially handicapped people who can't get along and race has nothing to do with it

    • MiraiStar 未来星
      MiraiStar 未来星 5 months ago +1

      King Ebura Discrimation occurs everywhere, especially in the cosplay community...

    • King Ebura
      King Ebura 5 months ago

      why would a lame get together for nerds be important

  • Publius Maximus Manlius
    Publius Maximus Manlius 5 months ago +4

    I support this safe space, it’s breaking stereotypes.

  • mikkel thybo
    mikkel thybo 5 months ago +4

    As a white dude: Good on them and Wakanda forever 😄

  • Dharma227
    Dharma227 5 months ago +12

    They are separating themselves under the illusion of togetherness. Truly "finding" yourself means seeing how you are similar to other people, not different.

    • Shalom Aleichem
      Shalom Aleichem 3 months ago

      @SixPack Shakur (Rep5281) There are white people only popcultue cons?

    • Stefanie Smith
      Stefanie Smith 4 months ago

      So true!! “Love your neighbor as yourself” !!!

    • Eeb Zookee
      Eeb Zookee 4 months ago +1

      Maybe they're fed up with others constantly pointing it out. Example my 75 year old Jamaican mother told me she never really thought about being "black" until moving to England in the 60s when she was 21. Point is, when black people congregate in places as a minority this is the frequent label they are required to run with. Sometimes you get tired of been seen as the other, the exception, the exotic. Sometimes you wanna hide in plain sight and just be... hence wakanda con

    • SixPack Shakur (Rep5281)
      SixPack Shakur (Rep5281) 4 months ago +4

      I bet you don't complain when other races do this.

  • Dharma227
    Dharma227 5 months ago

    Black Panther is about the unknown and misunderstood sacred/holiness of indigenous people. I think ironic because it applies more to Native American Indian people than to African people. No offense to Africans at all, but there is a lot of witchcraft and voodoo magic happening there, while the American Indians were the most advanced/enlightened indigenous group of the past.

  • Asad1969
    Asad1969 5 months ago

    Neo Black Hippies. Funkadelic is a hard act to follow.

  • Tré X
    Tré X 5 months ago +6

    The dislike button is gonna explode; I mean, it is black folks having fun again despite their tribulations.

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem 4 months ago

      @Tré X i have no idea what cyclical people are, but i am certain that if people are getting depressed over youtube comments then they need to get a grip

    • Tré X
      Tré X 4 months ago

      @Jimmy Killem and it's definitely their hobby choice that created all that depression. Not cyclical people like you

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem 5 months ago +2

      @Tré X i know them because they end up in front of my train when they get really depressed later in life when they realize their hobby has been a consumerist soul-sucking waste of time

    • Tré X
      Tré X 5 months ago

      @Jimmy Killem it takes one to know one

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem 5 months ago +3

      people who have the privilege to go to nerd conventions and spend tons of time on costumes and lore must have lots of tribulations going on in their life
      it truly is a hard knock life

  • Nah-Bruh Chill-Cause You're Stupid

    Rules for Thee not for Me...
    If white people did this, there would be riots

    • Neoand12
      Neoand12 4 months ago

      @Konipaca No. You do know you can cosplay without black face and still go to this con right? Don't respond to me any more.

    • Konipaca
      Konipaca 4 months ago

      @Neoand12 can you black face at this con?

    • Neoand12
      Neoand12 5 months ago +2

      Lol you stupid. Anyone is welcome to come. Wanna dress as black panther. Who stopping you?

    • Hydra
      Hydra 5 months ago +1

      It's time we did. It's time whites start playing the democrats same games.

  • bodybag22
    bodybag22 5 months ago +14

    He went to see Black Panther 10 times with his friends.
    Damn, black Disney must be thanking you guys.... oh wait.

  • Tiberius Zann
    Tiberius Zann 5 months ago +13

    In the words of the Great and wise Martin Luther King: Niggas, you have lost your goddamn mind!

  • Aliana Wood
    Aliana Wood 5 months ago +1

    4:04 I love that these angry racists were fuming so much that they sent him hate mail and he just laughs at it and uses it as motivation to keep being better.

  • David Etheridge
    David Etheridge 5 months ago +1

    Thanks for coming and covering this event. It was great chatting with you Vice News.
    If you want to check out more of my Cosplay check out my Instagram.
    And if you missed WakandaCon 2019, come out in 2020, all are welcome!

  • Crimson B Retrograde
    Crimson B Retrograde 5 months ago +6

    So many haters in the comment sections. How many times have religious groups or other nationalities created a safe place to gather and do things they like? Many Scot like to seperate from Irish and Welsh. Many times. Lets not act brand new.

    • Konipaca
      Konipaca 4 months ago

      Who told you this was a safe space LOL

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem 5 months ago +1

      it's because it's racial, duh

  • Star Cherry
    Star Cherry 5 months ago +10

    Advertise this more next year!
    I live near Chicago and never heard of this but now I'm sad I missed it

  • Robustus
    Robustus 5 months ago +12

    They are not excluding anyone. Being a minority within a minority, I can tell you that creating a space where you are the majority for a minute just feels good.

  • A C
    A C 5 months ago +6

    I've been to the conference both years and it's a great experience every time. Nice to see it showcased on Vice!