The heavily anticipated superhero movie Black Panther hit the screens on 12th February 2018, after being predicted to become the biggest ever Marvel film. The film sold more advance tickets in the US in its first 24hrs than any Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie, critics have so far been unanimously positive about the film. Black Panther is MCU’s first black superhero, with the movie boasting a predominantly black cast as well as lauded for its representation of strong female characters, and set in the imaginary African nation of Wakanda. The movie will feature fashion and beauty looks inspired by Africa, whilst the Hollywood premiere celebrated African royalty with attendees dressed in looks inspired by the continent. The popularity of the movie ahead of its release highlights the importance and need for representation and diversity in popular culture. Mintel’s colour cosmetics 2015 research showed that 18% of UK women who wear make-up agree that there are not enough women of different ethnicities in beauty advertising. This reflects that it’s not just black and other ethnic minorities who wish to see better representation, but it’s a desire from consumers across all ethnic backgrounds. The cast of Black Panther at the Johannesburg premiere

2018: the year of celebrating black culture

Movie-inspired make-up and hair looks can become iconic, from Mia Farrow’s pixie cut in Rosemary’s Baby to Uma Thurman’s nail colour in Pulp Fiction. It is likely that 2018 beauty looks will be inspired by Black Panther, particularly with the movie’s strong focus on aesthetics and maintaining authentic African looks. A number of bloggers have already recreated looks inspired by the movie using bold colours, suggesting that the movie may drive the trend for pigmented make-up in 2018. Princess Shuri make-up inspired tutorial by Too Much Mouth, February 2018 Fenty Beauty, arguably the most successful beauty brand of recent years to cater for women of all ethnic backgrounds, launched the Mattemoiselle range of lipsticks at the end of 2017. This features an array of intense shades from navy to hot pink. Beauty brands are catering to a larger range of skin tones, with 2018 seeing MAC team up with African beauty blogger Nyma Tang to create a shade of lipstick suited to darker skin. The YouTuber is known for her ‘Darkest Shade’ series of videos where she reviews shades for darker skin tones.

Natural hair is in the spotlight

Natural hair will feature in the Black Panther movie, with the majority of cast wearing natural hairstyles. In 2017, Pantene launched the Gold Series range designed for women with textured hair. The range is said to have been 15 years in the making, and has been developed by scientists and dermatologists with textured hair themselves. Pantene Gold Series TV advert behind-the-scenes, March 2017 Whilst the need to cater for black and ethnic minority groups in beauty has always existed, brands and marketers have shied away from targeting a consumer group which is comparatively smaller than the typical Caucasian market. However, the popularity of both Fenty Beauty and Black Panther show that representation matters, and consumers will spend on products and movies that reflect them.