DENNIS LEUPOLD AT BLACK PANTHER @ ESSENCE

 

Today as I watched “Black Panther”, I was carried away on the wings of such a gorgeous movie full of beauty and passion; yet it was also full of the warrior spirit even in the fashions. I really enjoyed watching as not only a survivor of multi cancers, being a founder of a cancer foundation that celebrates women’s beauty in fashion shows and self-care, but also getting now into the film production business myself. How something you would think of as a simple comic book character could be fleshed out to bring such a message of Hope, Faith, Love, and Strength to war through adversity was mind-blowing.

 

The fashions were amazing: Chadwick Boseman who was portrayed as Black Panther wore the most striking outfits, all befitting royalty. It was very much impressive seeing that he could wear a very minimalistic costume and yet it could turn into something that would actually become a protective armor. The claws around the neck were very much interesting to me; a simple, viscerally beautiful necklace which created an energy of healing and also protection that spread throughout the entire body. The couture style of this suit, as well as the costumes that the other male characters wore in this movie, showed the elegance I believe of what men can wear and still feel empowered. I was also impressed with how Sister Shuri (portrayed by Letitia Wright), the head General Okoye (portrayed by Danai Gurira) as well as Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), could wear the most haute couture fashions and yet they were flexibly lithe and able to work around them, to war in them and to be victorious! It made me think about how even as we are going through our own life issues, we don’t have to be necessarily dressed in sweats, hiding in a corner; we can be out there and elegant in our fights! We can be elegant in our day-to-day activities, doing self-care and loving our bodies and who we are to be fierce and ferocious and this in this battle call Life!

I saw the elegance of Angela Bassett as Ramonda, as she stood there being a Queen Mother. Even though she was being a portrayed as an older woman, the elegance of her dress was mesmerizing. The crochet of that the first ecru outfit she wore was so entwined with complex intricacies, befitting a beautiful, multi-faceted queen. The hat was lovely in a regal fashion and yet even the fabrics spoke of the natural love she had for her son as well as the natural grief of losing her husband. She wore her fashions with a grace and elegance that many could not carry.

 

One of the things that touched me in this movie was the process of bringing a small country that was pretty much closeted from the world, living on their own natural resources out of obscurity. They had work long and hard to make this country sustainable and also to keep it from war. They had strived to keep this country at peace and not have to deal with outside world. But in this day and age, they saw that there is so much going in the world that could not be ignored. We cannot be an island to ourselves. This was very much portrayed in that some of the outfits were not only tribal but it had an urban that crossed the lines of fashion. There was the authentic ethnicity but also having the cultural modern-day mindset. People could relate to it: they could enjoy the ethnicity (the beautiful long red vest that sister Shuri wore over a tribal print dress), yet she could go to America at the end of the movie dressed in a very much relatable costume made of a silk bomber jacket and mini-skirt in today’s fashion (she thought she was going to Coachella!). So it was wonderful to see how fashions not only portrayed the style of their country but also could be tied to modern-day culture.

 

Lastly, the hope of healing this world was very much in the storyline of this movie. When they talked about the country of Wakanda having the energy in their resources to heal and to change the world and how at the end that they felt they needed to do this filled my heart with hope. As a warrior myself, even though there is cancer research going on, I have asked more cancer researchers in conferences, “When will we have a cure? My girls are waiting.” I see in my foundation many who are leaving this world while waiting. But in “Black Panther”, it brought a new hope in my heart that there may be a small country out there, a small land that we may not even know of who has that source of healing; who has that wonderful resource they would feel in their hearts that they would share this with the world. To help those who are sick in our humanity who have waited so long for a cure. That perhaps out of a small country would come something so large and powerful to spread to all of the different parts of the world; and Humanity will give a concerted sigh of relief, knowing that we can look at life as how it should be – full of beauty, hope, faith, and love.

 

Daphne Evans, Founder of Heaven’s Door Cancer FoundationHeaven’s Door Cancer Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 wellness and advocacy program, which started in 2005 by Daphne Evans, a multi-cancer survivor: ovarian, breast and spinal cancer. Ms. Evans, after a double mastectomy in 2005, began a spa program to pay for services to other women cancer patients based upon the benefits of her own spa treatments. We have now expanded to patient advocacy and healing accommodations and hospital visits. HDCF helps women with cancer and advanced life threatening illnesses. Film Promotions Producer for “The Islands” by RiverRain Productions.

HDCF’s Mission | To assist those with advanced life threatening illness; to maintain dignity, function and a high quality of life through out their course of illness. We will help women undergoing treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation cope with the emotionally traumatic and emotional side effects of treatment. The objective is to help patients regain and/or maintain a sense of self confidence and control over their lives and advanced life threatening illnesses.

Heaven’s Door’s goal is to promote a high quality accommodation for our visitors and their caregivers. Heaven’s Door is NOT a medical facility, but will be available for assistance in the patient understanding and practicing aftercare instructions.  Daphne Evans has used her own  income and donations through fashion shows and fundraisers. HDCF is now looking for additional sponsors to assist with extra expenses for clinical trials and treatments. Daphne: “God is my Father and I believe He will provide in some way for me to to eventually to help my cancer family full time. If you have had someone in your life who has been touched by cancer – think of them today and if you feel to give in their memory all donations are appreciated.”

We cannot do any of this without your help – if you would like to donate to this amazing cause, every amount is appreciated. Thank you and God Bless! 

DENNIS LEUPOLD

Born and raised in the bustling city of Dusseldorf, Germany, photographer Dennis Leupold left his home at the age of 22 to pursue a career as an art director in New York City.

After five years of smashing huge productions and working with top influential photographers world-wide, Leupold began working independently. First, in the realm of fashion, then shifting his focus towards music and entertainment.

Leupold’s images are bold, dynamic and convey the strength of his subjects.  Now, based between the sandy beaches of Los Angeles and the industrious streets of New York City, Leupold continues to work with leading talents in music and fashion, creating art he hopes will provoke and inspire people around the world.