Ghana National Folklore Board Takes A Bold Step To Sue Marvel For Fashion In Black Panther & Others Using Ghanaian Culture

by Nana Tamakloe
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Ghana Politics In Fashion 

Ghana has given a firm indication of initiating a legal action against producers of the popular 2018 American superhero film, Black Panther, over alleged patent and copyright breaches.

According to the Ghana National Folklore Board, Marvel Studios, who are the producers of the record breaking film, used the country’s famous and celebrated traditional fabric, Kente, in some of its scenes without appropriate permission.



Information gathered on 3news.com was that Marvel, according to the Board, was required under copyright laws, to have sought permission from it before going ahead to use Ghana’s kente in the film that broke several box office records netting 1.344 billion dollars as of May 22, 2018.

She added: “We are preparing a legal dossier.”

Though she said preparations have started on initiating the case, Ghana was yet to officially write to Marvel to express its concerns regarding the alleged breaches and accordingly serve notice of a possible suit.

“The strategy is that we are not going in for a fight,” she indicated, adding “it is not adversarial”.

Rather, Ms Adobea said the Board will “sit down with them [Marvel Studios], negotiate as to how they can compensate [Ghana] because they were to come for permission but they did not”.

She explained permissions are not required of anyone intending to use any of the Ghanaian symbols and folklore in a customary context or for personal use.

More to face sanctions over breaches?

Meanwhile, the Board says it will go after Starz, producers of ‘American Gods TV’ series for allegedly misrepresenting the Akan folkloric character Ananse as a god in the sequel instead of a trickster spider.

Another case the Board said it will pursue is one involving the popular Italian fashion designer, Velentino [Velentino Garavani], for allegedly commercializing the Ahenema royal African sandals.

The Board said it has written to all corporate institutions who intend to use any of the Adinkra symbols for their corporate logo or commercialization to seek permission from the Board before doing same.

“With regards to Black Panther, you know there was a lot of Kente. Adinkra symbols also featured heavily in the movie. So they are also part of the foreign claims that we intend to take upon,” acting Director of the National Folklore Board, Nana Adjoa Adobea told Winston Amoah on 3FM’s morning magazine show, Sunrise.

Now on initial thoughts, as we love the Black Panther movie this might be a reality to come to grips with if this is the right thing, but in actual fact, this is soo right. Suing Marvel for making a killing off Black Panther is not suing Chadwick, Lupita nor the director who created the beautiful master piece movie.

But instead suing the company that has milked millions off of African culture. Paying for permit is a normal process that occurs with various countries and cultures. Why does Africa have to be the open porthole where everyone makes millions off our culture without paying rights or royalties.

All attributes to why Black Panther is extremely successful is the utilization of years of creativity from various African countries, which are in debt due to political reasons relative to bad relations with foreign countries. It is only right that they are made to subscribe to the same process they forego with successful nations when using cultural and national attributes for the successful movies.


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