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.

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Comments • 337

  • crash018
    crash018 4 days 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 6 days 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 9 days ago

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

  • M Hughes
    M Hughes 10 days 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 17 days ago


  • Epic Rants
    Epic Rants 17 days 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 10 days 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 18 days ago

    This is so stupid the movie was over rated

  • Youssef Houaoui
    Youssef Houaoui 19 days ago

    only black are so weak and so sensetive to do this you don't see brown people do this despite we are not represented at all in movies except as terrorist naturally evil, greedy, dumb or just plain cowards which absolutly not true and american soldiers know that very well

  • J M
    J M 24 days ago


    • Sail into the Sun
      Sail into the Sun 10 days 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 25 days 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 25 days ago

    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 26 days ago

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

  • Angel Medina
    Angel Medina 26 days ago +3

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

  • Asilia African Animal Ranch

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

  • Konipaca
    Konipaca 26 days ago +2

    imagine the smell

  • Grundle Munch
    Grundle Munch 26 days ago +1

    black people are so cringe

  • MegaSteven011
    MegaSteven011 27 days ago +1

    3:38 A WHITE MAN

  • ZavionSteel
    ZavionSteel 27 days 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 27 days ago +1


  • Jason
    Jason 27 days 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 28 days ago +1


  • Na m8
    Na m8 28 days ago +1

    I see black ariel made it to Wakandacon.. lol

  • Seraiace
    Seraiace 28 days 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 29 days ago

  • Akash kharat
    Akash kharat 29 days ago

    We Wuz Kangz 'n Sheeeiitt...

  • Not Moria
    Not Moria 29 days ago

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

  • Dre Miles
    Dre Miles 29 days ago +1

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

  • Jeffe Villadelobos
    Jeffe Villadelobos 29 days ago +5

    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 Month ago +3

    This was beautiful to see!

  • S C
    S C Month 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 Month ago +31

    "More inclusive" = Blacks only???

  • Hydra
    Hydra Month ago

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

  • eat me you scum
    eat me you scum Month ago +27

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

    HAMMER Month ago +3


  • EveningStreets
    EveningStreets Month ago +19

    I need this kind of time, money and privilege.

  • MiraiStar 未来星
    MiraiStar 未来星 Month ago +7

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

    • King Ebura
      King Ebura 29 days 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 29 days ago

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

    • King Ebura
      King Ebura Month ago

      why would a lame get together for nerds be important

  • Publius Maximus Manlius

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

  • mikkel thybo
    mikkel thybo Month ago +4

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

  • Dharma227
    Dharma227 Month ago +11

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

    • Stefanie Smith
      Stefanie Smith 26 days ago

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

    • Eeb Zookee
      Eeb Zookee 26 days 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) 28 days ago +3

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

  • Dharma227
    Dharma227 Month 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 Month ago

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

  • Trésor Irumva
    Trésor Irumva Month ago +6

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

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem 24 days ago

      @Trésor Irumva 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

    • Trésor Irumva
      Trésor Irumva 25 days ago

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

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem Month ago +2

      @Trésor Irumva 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

    • Trésor Irumva
      Trésor Irumva Month ago

      @Jimmy Killem it takes one to know one

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem Month 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 26 days 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 26 days ago

      @Neoand12 can you black face at this con?

    • Neoand12
      Neoand12 29 days ago +1

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

    • Hydra
      Hydra Month ago +1

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

  • bodybag22
    bodybag22 Month ago +12

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

  • Scar
    Scar Month ago +13

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

  • Aliana Wood
    Aliana Wood Month 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 Month 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 Month 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 26 days ago

      Who told you this was a safe space LOL

    • Jimmy Killem
      Jimmy Killem Month ago +1

      it's because it's racial, duh

  • Star Cherry
    Star Cherry Month 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 Month ago +11

    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 Month ago +5

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

  • S C
    S C Month ago +2

    If only these people got jobs...

  • Myd Nyt3
    Myd Nyt3 Month ago +52

    *Watches Black Panther Once. Becomes black history expert*

    • Trésor Irumva
      Trésor Irumva 25 days ago +1

      It's ongoing, so you just gotta be black and you won't miss out on the racism, the US serves you daily.

  • American Crusader
    American Crusader Month ago +12

    We waz kangz in shiiit

  • T C
    T C Month ago

    for some people, common interests are just not enough. Two humans who like to dress up like fictional characters from the same made up universe cant feel a connection cause of the pigment!!?? This is where hyper wokeness has taken some people. Lets look for the ignorant differences in each other while we both are wielding plastic swords and tin foil chest plates. A white person and a black person sporting robes and light sabers have so much is common, but it seems the focus is more on the pigment and the past than common interests these days. Stay woke yall.

  • AlwaysMorenZi
    AlwaysMorenZi Month ago +1

    Why no knuckles?

  • iii
    iii Month ago +1

    Ah OK, I guess they wanted to leave the absurdly high murder rate out of the movie!
    It's nice to have the media point out what actually happens when blacks run things

  • Tim Rogers
    Tim Rogers Month ago +3

    To say “inclusive” when describing and all black event is just a lie. It is literally the opposite of inclusive. You could call it many other things, but inclusive isn’t one of them. Unless we have been lied to and “inclusive” just means less whites. I have a feeling that is what it really is.

    • Neoand12
      Neoand12 Month ago

      But whites are welcome there. So....

  • masterofrockets
    masterofrockets Month ago +5

    you keep using that word,
    I don"t think you know what that means.

  • Taiquan Perry
    Taiquan Perry Month ago

    Dakotaville up in here!