Octavia Spencer Uses Marvel ‘Black Panther’ Salute Amidst Coronavirus

More celebrities are promoting the importance of coming together to fight Coronavirus than those opposed to doing a quarantine. Not that a few notable names haven’t already spoken out against it out of concern for their freedoms.

Other actors like Octavia Spencer are using more creative ways to express how we can use our superhero ways to combat this virus.

Much of this comes in how everyone can greet one another without doing handshakes or hugs. Everyone seems to be coming up with their own methods, ranging from simple elbow bumps to even foot bumps.

Spencer recently took to social media to say she’d be using a specific hand gesture from a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie. It’s one that arguably should be adopted by all while giving a nod to pop culture for being ahead of the curve.

Octavia Spencer borrowing the hand gesture from ‘Black Panther’

Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The now-iconic “Wakanda Forever” arm cross has arguably become as famous (if not more so) than Spock’s “Live Long and Prosper” hand symbol from Star Trek. With the Wakanda symbol coming from Black Panther, it’s proof pop culture can help us overcome things by a little more astute observation.

There may be some irony to that in many of the MCU movies giving guideposts on how to conquer evil and where we might be going as a nation. Ironically, though, Coronavirus has delayed production on future Marvel shows and movies for the time being.

When Spencer posted she’d be using the “Wakanda Forever” symbol as her way to greet people without shaking hands, it became a big hit on Instagram. Her message on the post was hopefully taken to heart: “My handshake for the next few months.” Some might look at this as wishful thinking, however. Most likely, the world will have to use it for longer than three months.

Should the “Wakanda Forever” symbol only be used to mean black power/solidarity?

A lot of African-Americans have adopted this symbol to represent black solidarity during shaky times. Considering racism has been exposed as a bigger problem than some would want to admit, using the symbol gives a hark back to the black power raised fist of the Black Panthers in the late 1960s.

Wakanda’s symbol has a more compelling aspect to it. Whether it should be used strictly to denote black solidarity is a matter of debate. Having Spencer post it as a universal symbol may show one of the positive aspects of dealing with Coronavirus.

Part of this may come in erasing racial lines to prove everyone is in this together rather than a political movement. If some are trying to make it political anyway, increasing cases of the virus may force everyone to band together as one.

Keeping a social distance is already important on this front, despite some not adhering to it. Whatever hand symbol one uses will help. Regardless, knowing everyone can use “Wakanda Forever” will prove how much we’re all related.

Will Octavia Spencer’s push for different hand symbols work with everyone?

It seems most Americans are cooperating when it comes to not shaking hands. Sometimes there are stories of those who simply forget and shake hands anyway out of habit.

Having Spencer showcase the “Wakanda Forever” symbol — even though she wasn’t in the film — is an offering to make it universal rather than mean anything else political. If anyone wants to make a list of the positive things Coronavirus will bring, perhaps this is one of them after years of complacency.

Being able to erase lines by using symbols and procedures once reserved for only specific people will make the world a more connected place. At least most actors can look back at this surreal time and say they played their part in making this happen.