Wǒ Men Podcast: Black Panther and Attitudes to Race in China

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9:05 PM HKT, Fri March 30, 2018 1 mins read

The Wǒ Men podcast is a bi-weekly discussion of life in China hosted by Yajun Zhang and Jingjing Zhang. Previous episodes of the Wǒ Men podcast can be found here, and you can find Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

The movie Black Panther has become a global phenomenon, smashing through box office records and preconceptions about the performance of black actor-fronted films, while triggering a worldwide celebration of African culture and spirit in the process.

Beijing was not left untouched by this movement: a huge party organized by Beijing’s African diaspora and friends was held near Tiananmen Square for the opening screening of the film in the Chinese capital. Yet the critical reception of the movie in China has been mixed, with some of the more negative reviews betraying underlying racist attitudes from some viewers.

This has given rise to an important but difficult conversation about race in China, leading some to question the long-held assumption that racism does not exist here. Such questions look even more relevant following a now infamous sketch on CCTV’s New Year Gala show that itself triggered heated debate about Chinese attitudes towards Africa.

For our latest podcast, we welcome Kassy Lee, an African-American writer and poet who has lived and worked in Beijing since 2014, to share her personal experience of living in the Chinese capital and her perspective on the broader conversation on attitudes to race in China that has recently taken off.

Have thoughts or feedback to share? Want to join the discussion? Write to Yajun and Jingjing at [email protected].

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