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Oscar Winner Ruth Carter Speaks on Campus

  • Ruth Carter demonstrates the Wakanda salute from the movie Black Panther with L&C’s Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) staff. From left: Sabrina Murray BA ’21; Pedro Ramos MA ’20; Matthew Telles BA ’21; Ruth Carter; Marissa Marquez BA ’19; Dominique Gardner, assistant director of IME and International Students and Scholars; Angela Gintz, director of IME; and Nahla Lee MA ’20.
    Nina Johnson

Ruth Carter made history at the 2019 Academy Awards as the first African American woman to win the Oscar for Best Costume Design for her work on the blockbuster film Black Panther.

On March 20, Lewis & Clark had the privilege of hosting her on campus to hear about her career trajectory and visual storytelling process.

Carter started her talk by projecting pictures of her own time in college, inspiring students in the crowd by showing them that she used to be right where they are. She proceeded to go into detail on her Black Panther costume designs and walked the audience through the entire creative process.

Carter emphasized that although this was technically her first superhero blockbuster, she has actually been designing for real-life superheroes throughout her 30-plus-year career in films like Malcolm X, Selma, and Amistad. “Every year, I have been designing for superheroes,” said Carter. “Having a purpose is part of the artistry, and that purpose is to bring to life the truth of the people.”

Eva Magaña BA ’20, a rhetoric and media studies major, introduced Carter before she took the stage. Magaña is president of Students for Cultural Inclusion in the Theatre (SCIT), which cosponsored Carter’s visit. “SCIT aims to provide the resources necessary for students of color to feel comfortable on campus,” explains Magaña. “For some students, that means seeing a guest artist of color, like Ruth Carter, share their unique experiences and advice.”

—by Dawn Mist Movich-Fields BA ’20

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