Ruth E. Carter made history in 2019 as the first Black person (and Black woman) to win an Academy Award for Costume Design—a feat made even more special for the fact that the film that earned her the award was 2018's Black Panther. This month, the legendary costume designer—whose extensive list of credits also includes The Five Heartbeats, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Amistad, Selma and the upcoming Coming 2 America, among others, will be cemented into Hollywood history—literally.
“Motion Picture Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame via a virtual star ceremony on February 25, at 11:30 am,” read a post from the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday morning. The announcement was confirmed by the costuming legend herself on Monday, during the Black Design Collective x Runway 360 Global Showcase which helped to kick off this February’s Fashion Week.
If this news isn’t exactly new to you, it’s likely because the announcement initially came back in 2019. Nominees to the walk have five years to schedule a ceremony; several were likely and understandably postponed by the global pandemic.
Obviously, Carter’s ceremony on Feb. 25 will likely be pared down and socially distanced (we hope), but those looking to celebrate the designer’s storied and ongoing career can do so at the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta, where “Ruth E Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design” is on view until September 12. The 40-year retrospective features over 60 costumes from Carter’s career, spanning from “Detroit Red” to Wakanda—and proving that even after decades in the business, Carter is always thinking forward.
“I define Afrofuturism in a very humanistic way,” Carter told the Guardian on Wednesday. “How are we able to use technology so we can be a part of what shapes tomorrow? When you can sit for your own purpose, you’re crafting your tomorrow.”
“When you see a protest march like Black Lives Matter, it’s people being empowered to change their future,” Carter continued. “It ties into systemic racism and abolishes that mindset. Afrofuturism is about trying to make a difference for tomorrow, trying to make a change.”
With both Coming 2 America and the highly anticipated Black Panther 2 on the horizon, Carter is continuing to expand our once-limited view of the African diaspora—with her own fantastical spin.
“This is African royalty,” said Carter of helping to recreate Coming 2 America’s Zamunda for a new generation. “We want to honor Africa, we want to honor the first movie and still want it to be modern and fresh.”