Nigerian cinema fans celebrate Black Panther release

Film fans, actors and comic enthusiasts in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos have been flocking to screenings of Marvel superhero movie Black Panther, which opened in Africa's most populous country this week.

The movie, which features a predominantly black cast, is set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. It tells the story of T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who is challenged by rival factions.

Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, is also a cultural powerhouse that boasts the continent's biggest film industry, known as Nollywood. At a screening of Black Panther in Lekki, an upmarket district of Lagos, Nollywood stars mingled with TV personalities and locals.

"Black Panther is a film that celebrates black excellence. Bringing it to Nigeria is especially exciting," said Bolaji Kekere-Ekun, 33, a Nigerian film-maker.

The portrayal of Wakanda as a futuristic, wealth-laden nation was welcomed by Nigerian actress Ijeoma Grace Agu, who used body paint and a two-piece outfit as a homage to the film's fashion aesthetic.

"For once we are not just dressed in slave clothes or doing slavery or brutality. For once we are dressed in good clothes,"said Agu. "Seeing us exude power and strength, seeing our culture, our high fashion sense portrays us in a different light." - REUTERS