The stars were out and looking pretty fantastic for the Los Angeles premiere of Black Panther, including famous fans of the comic book and supporters. But one person who deserved to be there, however, didn’t get an invite, was author Roxane Gay.
The woman behind Hunger and Bad Feminist was one of the writers for Marvel Comics’ Black Panther spin-off World of Wakanda in 2016 and 2017. She and poet Yona Harvey were actually the first Black women to be lead writers on a Marvel comic.
Unfortunately though, the spin-off was canned last year. The news followed comments by Marvel VP David Gabriel, who faced backlash for saying that the company’s readership was over all of the diversity happening, hence the cancellation of many of the spin-offs and revamped comics.
“What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity,” Gabriel said at the Marvel Retailer Summit last spring. “They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales.”
Maybe the spin-off’s early demise was the reason those who had contributed to it weren’t considered for a premiere invite. Whatever the reason though, the 43-year-old author would have loved to hear it from Marvel because her feelings were definitely hurt.
Fellow author Luvvie Ajayi, we were delighted to see, commented on the situation and encouraged Gay:
After speaking her peace about the situation but noticing that her comments had gained traction, Gay decided to clear the air. As she put it, she was just speaking on her personal experiences but still planned to support the film and hoped others would. Her issue was more so with Marvel, not anyone who actually took part in the movie:
As for the other writers who’ve contributed to the Black Panther comic and its spinoffs, Reginald Hudlin was there:
As for Ta-Nehisi Coates, it’s unclear if he was invited to the premiere as well. Still, even if he and others weren’t, after the flurry of glowing reviews people shared following the premiere and early screenings, like the rest of us, they’re probably still going to try to secure a seat in the theater come February.