Exploring Identity and Coping Among Black Viewers of Marvel’s Black Panther

Jardin N. Dogan, Danielle Rosenkrantz, Paris B. Wheeler, Candice N. Hargons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Mass media influences Black identity development by perpetuating negative images and stereotypes about Black people. However, Marvel’s Black Panther gained popular acclaim, as it presented experiences of Black people that disrupted stereotypical tropes. Limited research examines the impact of positive, Black-oriented media on Black identity; thus, the current qualitative study explored the influence of watching Black Panther on the racial identity of 137 Black viewers aged 19 to 63 (67% female; 90% heterosexual) through an online survey. The movie’s influence on participants’ coping strategies for racism and racial discrimination were also explored. Utilizing the multidimensional model of racial identity as a theoretical framework, we constructed 12 subthemes to reflect racial centrality (Blackness as a Spectrum), salience (Essential Representation, In Awe of Blackness), public and private regard (Accepted and Humanized, Appreciation of Black Beauty, Countering Common Stereotypes), and ideology (Troubled by Disconnection, Desire for Community Unity, and Hope Through Resiliency). Participants’ coping strategies varied after watching Black Panther and reflected subthemes of Escape From Current Reality, Hope for the Future, and Inability to Cope. Implications for media, racial identity, and Black psychology are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Popular Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors appreciate the participants who shared their experiences with them. The authors thank Dominiqueca Lewis for your creative insightand providing valuable feedback on earlier revisions of this article. The authors would like to present this article as a tribute to the late Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman. #Wakandaforever

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Psychological Association


  • Black individuals
  • Black panther
  • Coping
  • Qualitative research
  • Racial identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Communication
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring Identity and Coping Among Black Viewers of Marvel’s Black Panther'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this