The smash hit film "Black Panther" is resonating with audiences in a big way. The story of a black superhero from the fictional African nation of Wakanda has many moviegoers wanting to connect to the film and their own heritage.
The result? Fans are showing up in style — Afro-centric style. On Twitter, there's a hashtag for it: #WakandaStyle. For some, it means wearing simple accent pieces.
Others are making a bigger statement:
"I wore a South African head piece," said moviegoer Rumbi Gotosa. "You wear it when you're getting married. I wasn't getting married, but I had it anyway."
The film's success has generated a surge in sales for a vendor at the Flatbush Caton Market.
"What I have on the hair tie — it's called gele. I make them myself. The fabric is flat, but I turn it to this," vendor Loveth Howell said, gesturing to her gele.
Howell, who was born in Nigeria, says she's seen a 40 percent bump in business since the debut of "Black Panther." She sells everything from dashikis, to dresses, to jewelry, to horse tails.
"This is very powerful, yes," Howell said, holding a horse tail. "Not only in the movie — life. Yes, life, like the prince, the princess, the king, the chiefs — they carry this. So when they want to bless you, they use it to touch you like this, on your shoulder or your back, and they bless you."
Another market vendor says she's been busy sewing outfits from scratch for customers.
"They buy the African material and they bring it to me, and I make it for them," vendor Iris Lang said.
There are more than 30 vendors in a new temporary market space on Clarendon Road. The original location on the corner of Flatbush and Caton Avenues is being redeveloped and will become a 277,000-square-foot mixed-use building with affordable housing and a redesigned market on the ground floor.
But managers say the mission will stay the same: "It's a home away from home for many people, and a new home for people who are interested in identifying or fortifying their roots," said Stephanie Pierre, a marketing associate at Flatbush Caton Market on Clarendon.
Whether they're from Nigeria or the Caribbean, or just want to buy a gele to connect with the "Black Panther" film.
The Flatbush Caton Market on Clarendon is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.