Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Significance In The Black Panther Movie Of Black Panther's Sister Shuri Giving A Dap (A Black Power Handshake)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post is Part II of a two part series on the 2018 Black Panther "secret handshake".

Part II of this series explores the cultural significance of Black Panther's sister Shuri giving a dap (a black power handshake) in the 2018 Black Panther movie.

YouTube examples of that scene and video examples of other females performing Black power handshakes are also featured in this post.

Click for Part I of this series. Part I showcases four YouTube videos that include examples of and/or comments about the "secret handshake" between T'Challa (Black Panther) and his young sister Shuri in the 2018 Black Panther movie and/or examples of the crossed fists to the chest "Wakanda Forever" salute that was performed in the 2018 Black Panther movie.

Selected comments from an online discussion about that Black Panther handshake are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who were associated with the 2018 Black Panther movie and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publisher of these videos on YouTube.
This post is a continuation of other pancocojams posts on the 2018 Black Panther movie. Click the Black Panther tag to find other posts in this series.

T'Challa's (Black Panther's) young sister Shuri, is one of the Black Panther movie's strong female characters. A now iconic scene from that movie is the one where Shuri and T'Challa exchange their "secret handshake". That handshake begins with a black power handshake (with one person's right arm and one person's left arm held in an arm wrestling-like position) and ends with both persons' arms crossed at the chest in what is being called "the Wakanda salute".

One reason why that scene may be so memorable is that dapping (giving a black power handshake) is usually considered to be a male only gesture. In my experiences as an African American female, instead of dapping, afrocentric Black women greet each other and say goodbye -and are greeted and said goodbye to by males- by both people giving the "fake hugs" (leaning from right to left toward the person they are facing). At the same time that they are performing this right to left "hugs", some people also give "air kisses", also known as "cheek kisses". (According to Wikipedia, "The air kiss is a pretence of kissing: the lips are pursed as if kissing, but without actually touching the other person's body. Sometimes, the air kiss includes touching cheek-to-cheek.")
-end of quote-

I've found very few online references to or video examples of Black women* in the United States or elsewhere giving daps. Here are two excerpts as examples of online information that routinely refers to "daps" as a male only custom. In contrast, there are lots of references and photographs of Black women giving "black power salutes" which is made by raising (usually) your right fist straight up above your head.

*However, as shown below, I have found several recent video examples of Black girls (and girls of other races) demonstrating the daps that they created.

Excerpt #1:
Five on the Black Hand Side Origins and Evolutions of the Dap
September 22, 2014 by LaMont Hamilton
..."When we see youths, athletes, or even President Obama giving a fist bump or dap, we think of these gestures as mere greetings and are not aware of the origins and historical significance of these languages.

Historically, the dap is both a symbol among African American men that expresses unity, strength, defiance, or resistance and a complex language for communicating information. The dap and the black power handshake, which evolved from the dap, were important symbols of black consciousness, identity, and cultural unity throughout black America."...

Excerpt #2:
black man's handshake
The Black man's handshake is a handshake established in the black male community, where two men grab each other's hands, and pull one another into the sides of each other's chest, while patting each other's backs, with their other free hand.
Barack Obama gave 'a black man's handshake' to Kevin Durant, when meeting him for the first time.
by a black lady June 08, 2014
Notice that "a black lady" is the one who submitted this definition to urban dictionary.

Here's a video of President Obama giving a dap:

Thug Life Obama

shishkababies, Published on Oct 5, 2014

inspired by the vine
Pancocojams Editor's note [revised March 3, 2018]
The title "thug life Obama" implies that giving daps is "cool" (hip), something "thugs" do, and rarely something that an establishment figure, let alone the President would do.

Notice the similar theme of a person doing these types of handshakes being a thug (gangsta) in the "Beyonce's Gangsta Handshake" video that is found below.

Some people may equate being (or acting like) a thug with being cool (hip). Actually, if thugs/gangstas do give daps, they aren't the only ones who do that greeting and farewell people

Rather than being a thug or a gangsta, my sense is that Shuri giving her brother a dap (as shown in that Black Panther movie) signifies that she considers herself to be hip, strong, and confident. The fact that her brother responded to her greeting conveys that he also considers her that way.

The note under Example #2 of the section immediately below provides information about how Letitia Wright came up with the idea of adding the "secret handshake" to the scene in the Black Panther movie when Shuri and T'Challa greet each other.

Example #1: Marvel Studios' Black Panther - Entourage TV Spot

Marvel Entertainment, Published on Jan 14, 2018

Example #2:'Black Panther': Everything you need to know about Shuri

Variety, Published on Feb 18, 2018
This video clip indicates that Letitia Wright who plays "Shuri" in Black Panther added the "secret handshake" (also known as "the Wakanda salute") to that often shown scene where she greets her brother.

At 1:43-2:06 the sub-title in this video clip asks "How did Wright come up with her version of the Wakanda handshake"? Letitia Wright says "I would go home, study the scene and think "Okay, how can I add a bit more to it. But I said to Chadwick, this is the first time you've come in and be with your sister, and hangout with her. We've gotta do something. Chadwick did that [showing the clenched fists crossed at the chest and pounding the chest with that gesture one or two times]. There's a whole history behind that and that's the Wakanda symbol, but Shuri would go into it in a way that was different. She... they would have a little bit of sumthin, sumthin special.

Example #1: Beyonce's Gangsta Handshake

Nicole Msft, Published on Apr 5, 2012
Beyoncé being cute as usual :)


Example #2: Imagine Hope Tolson Classroom Champions #TEAMWORK Handshake Challenge -

Jerome Clemons, Published on Mar 14, 2016

Students at Imagine Hope Tolson in Washington, D.C. worked together to create #TEAMWORK celebrations/handshakes for their Classroom Champions monthly challenge.

[The only other videos that I could find of Black females doing daps were ones in which teachers gave their female and male students daps. If you know of any other videos that show females doing daps, please add their title and/or links in the comment section below.]

Example #3: Teacher Has Incredible Handshakes With Each Student | ABC News

ABC News, Published on Feb 2, 2017

North Carolina teacher has personalized handshakes with each of his students. "It was just one or two students and then it became contagious. I saw how much it meant to them."

Example #4
Charlotte teacher connects to students with personalized handshakes

WCNC, Published on Mar 23, 2017

Article about this teacher:

Example #5: Cool Teachers Greet Students With Personalized Handshakes

HS SPORTS, Published on Jul 13, 2017

Wichita Public Schools teacher does an individual handshake every morning with her students before they start class.

Example #6: Coolest teacher ever wears black panther mask and greets students

Trender youtuber, Published on Feb 22, 2018

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1 comment:

  1. Watch Black Panther at yidio movies :A great addition to the MCU. Great acting, beautiful visuals and some intense action. First impressive thing I noticed was its rich attention to detail in world building and its characters. My only criticism, I would have like to have seen more of the Killmonger character, as I feel they didn't go far enough with him. Over-all, this is a fun and enjoyable movie with action, comedy, drama. There are some complex social political overtones mixed in, but it never feels heavy handed, and I feel that the over-all message is positive for humanity as a whole. If this type of movie isn't your cup of tea, fair enough, but if you are on the fence about watching due to pre-conceived notions about its content and message, I would recommend you give it a try, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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