“Black Panther” is notable for a number of reasons. It is the first comic-book movie in decades to have a black protagonist. It was shot by one of the best directors of his generation and with an Oscar-nominated woman behind the camera. It is going to make a ton of money and potentially bust a number of pernicious myths about the international market and movies featuring people of color. Shuri (played by Letitia Wright) is the sister of T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and the film’s titular character.

She oversees the technological operations of the superscientific nation. If you’re comparing T’Challa to James Bond, she’s Q. She’s also the funniest character in the movie, steals every scene she’s in and — for my money — the most important character.

Here’s why: The volume of evidence shows that when audiences see on-screen representations of themselves, particularly aspirational ones, that experience can fundamentally change how they perceive their own place in the world. Black people have been historically underrepresented on screen, and black women in strong roles even more so. Shuri provides a science-y role model for black women, a group distinctly underrepresented in STEM fields.

Read the full article on Shuri by Walt Hickey at FiveThirtyEight