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Washington Post Profiles UM Alumnus/Author Jesse Holland

The Washington Post profiled University of Mississippi alumnus Jesse Holland this weekend for the part he has played in the astonishing success of “Black Panther,” the Marvel movie that features a black superhero from the fictional African nation of Wakanda.
Marvel hired Holland, an Associated Press reporter and journalism professor at the University of Arkansas, to write the novel, “Who is the Black Panther?” as part of the publicity campaign for the hit movie, which had one of the biggest opening weekends in cinematic history.
Holland graduated from Ole Miss in 1994 with degrees in journalism and English. He had already written four books, including “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African-American Slaves in the White House,” before Marvel tapped him for the Black Panther novel. One of his published works of fiction was a companion novel for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which focused on former First Order stormtrooper Finn.
“Most of the world didn’t know [the Black Panther] until last year,” Holland told the Washington Post. “If you want a succinct origin story to tell you who he is, my novel is a good place to start. You’ll see a lot of characters in the movie in the novel. We are drawing from the same wellspring.”
Holland believes the superhero’s popularity will inspire African-American youth. “For years, people of color have had very few of these modern mythological heroes that look like us,” he said in the Post interview. “Now we can go to the movies and pick up books and have these major protagonists who we can see ourselves in. Our children will see these heroes and be able to say, ‘He looks like me. I can be him.’ And that is so very important.”

Compiled by HottyToddy.com staff

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