From Memphis to Wakanda and back – for a visit

Before signing on as a “Black Panther” special forces warrior, Carrie Annie Bernans became a University of Memphis graduate.

Carrie Annie Bernans as a Dora Milaje warrior in “Black Panther.”

Carrie Annie Bernans is living proof that there is a path that connects Memphis to Wakanda, the fictional African nation in the Marvel box office smash “Black Panther.”

A University of Memphis alum, Bernans has a role as one of the female warriors in the historic first black superhero film.

On Friday, Bernans was back in in Memphis, where she visited several schools. At each stop, she was a star attraction.

“I’m just here to prove that no matter where you’re from you can make it too,” Brenans told The New Tri-State Defender.

In “Black Panther” Bernans is part of the Dora Milaje, a team of women who serve as special forces for Wakanda. Critics are heaping praise on the Dora Milaje, pointing to their powerful presence of feminism.

“The women were so powerful, and I felt powerful,” Bernans said. “Especially when I had to cut off all my hair for the role.”

As for being a part of the cinematic breakthrough, Bernans said, “It was so cool. …

“I was on set working with the cast for about a month. They were looking for fresh new faces and I was referred to try out. On set was great. We played music and everything. It was such an awesome time.”

Bernans, who did not make the premier of “Black Panther” in Los Angeles, is keenly aware that, “I’m a part of history. And that’s so awesome, especially when you’re getting the support from your people. …

“For the first time we’re not represented as thugs or slaves. We’re superheroes supported by an all black cast. I’m very proud.”

Her role in “Black Panther” has opened doors in a blossoming acting career.

“I can’t really disclose who I’ll be working with,” she said, “but I’m definitely on some really cool projects that you guys will see pretty soon.”