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From movie to museum

Detroit’s one and only African American History Museum has brought in fans of old and new movies, African American History nerds, and lovers of innovative clothing design with the new exhibit featuring T’Challa’s suit from Black Panther.

At the Charles H. Wright Museum until March 31, is the ‘Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design’ exhibit. It showcases costumes from movies like Coming to America, Do The Right Thing, Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever just to name a few. Exhibitions Manager Jennifer Evans said the suits themselves were part of a collection by the designer, and, for the Black Panther suits, Marvel themselves came and helped set them up.

“It was very exciting to host the exhibit since we don’t do a lot of pop culture exhibits,” Evans said. ”Marvel even came and Helped with the mannequins and costumes and shoes and other stuff”.

This wouldn’t be possible without the work of Ruth E. Carter, the designer of the outfits. Carter implemented her knowledge of African American culture to bring to life the history of each of the movies she’s worked on.

Evans said that though it’s fun to have the big picture suits here, it’s about what they represent as a whole, which is what Carter is trying to show rather than just the costumes from movies. Once the end of March comes, the exhibit will find a new home, but Carter herself will be coming in March to give a talk on her designs.

“The Black Panther exhibit is more about Miss Carter’s history and resources and tells a story apart from the movie,” Evans said.

This started when a traveling company offered the outfits for display in various museums, with Charles Wright being the first African American History Museum to host the suits. When asked, Evans said this is a special occasion and we probably won’t see something similar for a while, but it’s a good chance to view African-American history through a unique perspective.

“It depends on the traveling show, when companies create stuff we will participate, as an African American museum we generally might include pop culture in a historical lens,” Evans said.

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Ronin McCracken ’26
Ronin McCracken ’26, Staff Writer
Drawing. Painting. Printmaking. Photography. After a summer spent unleashing his creativity through every possible medium, Ronin McCracken ’26 is ready to take on a brand new one: journalism. As a first year staff writer for The Tower, McCracken isn’t sure what he wants to write just yet, but he’s looking forward to voicing his thoughts in opinion stories in the coming year. “If I see a story that I like, I’ll just try to do that the best I can,” McCracken said. When he isn’t making art or chasing down his next big story, McCracken can be found with a controller in hand, fighting his way out of yet another Mortal Kombat chapter beside his closest friends. An avid gamer for many years, McCracken said he can hardly remember a time without a console. “I remember having a Wii when I was really little,” McCracken said. “We still have it, but it’s not even usable anymore. That was probably the first time I ever played a video game--I don’t even know how young.”

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