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The Art of Costume Design: Black Panther Plus Workshop
By By Lapacazo Sandoval, Contributing Writer
Published February 20, 2020

Ruth E. Carter (Courtesy Photo)

Hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscar winner Ruth E. Carter — FEB 23 12:30 PM PT — Academy Family Day. 

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A lot is going on for Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter — the first African-American woman to win the honor (Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design), last year, for her work on Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster film “Black Panther”—but the most important, today, is that she will be participating in the February 23rd, The Art of Costume Design: Black Panther Plus Workshop which is hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
“Black Panther” is the 18th movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe but the first to focus on a hero of color and Black Panther represents an important milestone in the history of superhero cinema. In honor of Black History Month, the Academy choose to celebrate this film.

This event is designed for kids between the ages of 8-17 and will also include a demonstration by 3D designer Julia Koerner along with the aforementioned Academy governor and Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter.

Original costumes from “Black Panther” will be on display along with hands-on costume design activities which will be followed by a screening of “Black Panther.”

Here’s the real deal, Ms. Carter is a genius and a living legend, there I’ve said it. Her Oscar win, which was historic and well deserved just confirmed for the global non-film related community what was already well known in the industry. To say that Ms. Carter’s designs for “Black Panther” were merely good is to miss the point. Ruth E. Carter is a bold storyteller. She infused her designs with the aesthetics of Afrofuturism, which blends African mythologies with science fiction to project a powerful and underrepresented potential for black people. By juxtaposing handcrafted and 3D-printed accessories, and traditional African styles and modern silhouettes, Carter’s innovative design created a multidimensional and awe-inspiring cinematic world fit for a king.

The Art of Costume Design: Black Panther Plus Workshop day, which will end with a screening of Black Panther, takes place on February 23rd. To learn more and to register https://www.oscars.org/events/art-costume-design-black-panther-2018. Black Panther (2018) is rated PG-13. Some material may not be appropriate for children under 13. Both spots sell out quickly but for stand-by options call (310) 247-2677.

Ruth Carter poses backstage with the Oscar® for achievement in costume design during the live ABC Telecast of The 91st Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

Now let’s talk about inspiration. One of my favorite words. It was an inspiration that connected Miss Carter with the team at H&M clothing, and it was an inspiration that helped her design a line which has a very ’90’s vibe, a homage, and a nostalgic nod to her famous designs from Spike Lee’s masterpiece “Do The Right Thing.”

Miss Carter’s H&M clothing line debuted on Feb. 13 and partnering with the clothing giant was not a quick decision but one that she’s “very happy with” now. In the end, her 11-piece collection is filled with the colors that reminded her of liberation because, to her, it symbolizes “being independent and strong, knowing about the authenticity of your culture.”

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Here is what Academy governor and Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter had to say about the February 23, The Art of Costume Design: Black Panther Plus Workshop, aka The Black Panther Family Day hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Art, working with H&M and being a little girl with an imagination.

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL: I’m a big fan of the educational events that the Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences do every year. I’m particularly excited about the February 23rd event — THE ART OF COSTUME DESIGN: BLACK PANTHER PLUS WORKSHOP. Why is education important and why do you think that “Black Panther” has made such an impact?

RUTH CARTER: Part of what I think made “Black Panther” so world-wide and embraced from all ages is that we all need a superhero in our lives. As far back as I can remember there were always comics and kids connect, adults connect so this is a wonderful way for educators to connect with filmmaking and to broaden kids scope in terms of what they can imagine, as their superhero, as what they can imagine themselves doing in this industry.

LAS: That’s what I’m talking about! I do care about our future, it’s not just BS sliding from my mouth. That is why I stay encouraged and excited when I learn about the Academy’s educational programs. I’m sorry Ms. Ruth, please continue.

RC: (laughing) Exactly. We will be demonstrating 3-D Printing. I’m going to show them slides of my workroom.

LAS: That’s a busy room.

RC: I just hope to engage them in their future and just the idea of imagination you have to inspire them. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

LAS: The kid in me knows it’s going to be a lot of fun.

RC: [THE ART OF COSTUME DESIGN: BLACK PANTHER PLUS WORKSHOP on 02.23] It’s going to be a lot of fun I’ve already walked through the back areas where they’ve put up all the capes and masks set up that the kids are going to color on and turn themselves into their very own, unique superhero. I think that sometimes we forget about the kids.

LAS: Wait, this is worth repeating because I agree. You said that sometimes we forget about the kids, correct?

RC: Yes. Sometimes we forget about the kids and their needs and how they connect to the movies and the medium and that you should never underestimate what your kid[s] can do.

LAS: Amen. Amen and Amen. Please, Ms. Ruth continues because you are dropping pearls of knowledge.

RC: This program [THE ART OF COSTUME DESIGN: BLACK PANTHER PLUS WORKSHOP ] is a way to embrace their creativity and their self-expression.

LAS: I feel strongly that we need to connect to the parents so they understand the real opportunities that exist in the film industry across the board. This is serious work and their kids can live their dreams and still have a substantial paycheck and a successful career.

RC: Unfortunately a lot of kids are left to figure things out on their own which is unfortunate

LAS: Can you share your story?

RC: My mother was as a single parent she was very busy trying to provide food and shelter, and so, I spent a lot of time creating in my room. I was happy. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything but there were those times when she would take me to New York, to see a Broadway show. And I remember going to the movies with my mom and enjoying it.

LAS: I have a similar experience and for me and my mother, the Oscars were our Super Bowl. Now, when I cover the Oscars, I take my mother, Ms. Jessie, with me. Such is the power of cinematic storytelling.

RC: Cinema is powerful. This is one way that parents can carve out that little bit of time that they have to devote to their kids that is fulfilling and enriching.

LAS: I am so excited about your new H&M line. Oh, Ms. Ruth, the big H&M in Manhattan, in Times Square, come on — genius, that’s my joint and the billboard is hello-huge.

RC: (laughing) Yes, [that Billboard] that’s my face there. I wish I was in New York to see that to take a selfie.

LAS: What motivated the collaboration with H&M and why launch in February, Black History Month?

RC: I’ve always loved Black History Month as far back and I can remember going to school. When I was in fifth grade I can remember the teacher gave me the assignment to create the Black History Month bulletin board and show and so, I still remember that day. I drew a picture of Mary McLeod Bethune, she had that crown of wiry, gray hair and I put it on the center of the board, and I brought all the things that I could find in my mom’s house, African sculptures and culture and I brought it all in, and I stood at a round table and explained to people, my classmates, what everything was. And, so when I feel that someone wants to collaborate with me in a homage that’s going to be for Black history month, the first thing I thought of was what inspired me and how can I inspire others.

LAS: That’s what’s up. What’s inspired me and how can I inspire others — very Ruth Carter.

RC: The Liberation flag was a big inspiration. The colors—red, black and green were something that I knew represented empowerment and community, and vibrancy and up with the race, Black power, all of these things were very positive.

LAS: So, your H&M clothing collaboration is timely?

RC: [Yes] I feel like we do need some positive messages right about now.

LAS: Ya’ think?

RC: (laughing) And also in a lot to of my work you do see representation from “School Daze,” one of the characters is wearing a Soweto tee-shirt, in “Do The Right Thing” even in “Black Panther” we represent the [colors] black and green. That’s where I got started and I wanted to have some fun with it and harken back to my beginnings and people something to spin-off of, you know, it’s complete in that you can buy the sweatshirt and the shorts, and the sweatpants and wear it to class, and wear it to school but it’s meant to inspire you, to create with it. For it to be a part of your bigger story and that’s what I love about it.

LAS: What’s next for your Oscar-winning Costume Designer for “Black Panther” — Ruth Carter?

RC: I just finished designing “Coming To America, 2” which is currently in post-production. I have a book [entitled] The Art of Ruthie Carter.

LAS: No you don’t! Go, Ms. Ruth!

RC: (laughing) I do [The Art of Ruthie Carter] will be paired with the release of “Black Panther, 2’ and that film will be starting in the fall. It’s 2021, 2022 somewhere around there.

LAS: I’m getting tingles —the small hairs on the back of my neck and my arms, are standing up.

RC: (laughing) I’ve said everything. I have all kinds of stuff from my journeys from “School Daze,” “Do The Right Thing,” — I have so much to put in there. I have to do some serious editing.

LAS: Ms. Ruth, you are an exhibit yourself. I’d called it — Just Ruth.

RC: (Laughing) That’s right.

 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: THE ART OF COSTUME DESIGN: BLACK PANTHER PLUS WORKSHOP with Oscar winner Ruth E. Carter — FEB 23 12:30 PM PT — Academy Family Day is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

At the time of filing the THE ART OF COSTUME DESIGN: BLACK PANTHER PLUS WORKSHOP is at capacity.  For standby please call (310) 247-2677.

To learn more about THE ART OF COSTUME DESIGN: BLACK PANTHER PLUS WORKSHOP click here:

https://www.oscars.org/events/art-costume-design-black-panther-plus-workshop

 

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