Friday, June 21, 2024

Brief queer moment in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever part of cuts for Kuwait release

On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that there were a few cuts made to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in order for it to be shown in Kuwait, including a brief scene of queer intimacy between Dora Milaje members Aneka and Ayo.

The unedited scene itself is small and could easily be missed by viewers, only 10 seconds long. In it, Aneka, played by I May Destroy You creator Michaela Coel, kisses Ayo (Florence Kasumba) on the forehead. Within the movie itself, this doesn’t quite make the pair an official couple, but both characters are queer and in a relationship in the Marvel Black Panther comic books. Coel also stated in an interview with Vogue that she was “sold” on playing Aneka because of the character’s queerness, as she hoped to provide some LGBTQ+ representation for Ghanaian people.

Overall, the edits for the Kuwait release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are about one minute in total. The forehead kiss between Aneka and Ayo makes up ten seconds of that. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the censors also requested that a scene where a woman gives birth and the line “a god to his people” be removed from the film.

Kuwait is reportedly the only country in the Gulf region that requested edits for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to be released there. The report from The Hollywood Reporter stated that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar will be screening the unedited version of the film. This is somewhat surprising, since other films like Buzz Lightyear, Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and Eternals did not make it to theaters in Saudi Arabia, which is the region’s largest market.

That said, Kuwait has the strictest censorship rules when it comes to relationships in films. The first Black Panther had a kiss between T’Challa and Nakia removed, and another heterosexual kiss was removed from Encanto.

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