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Okoye to the People: 09/28/22
Okoye to the People by Ibi Zoboi (2022) is a standalone novel in the Black Panther universe. It follows Okoye's first assignment as one of T'Chaka's Dora Milaje. It involves a trip to New York where she is distracted by the plight of a particular neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Ibi Zoboi's stories often feature an outsider character whose unique perspective provides well needed commentary on the inequities of American life. She does this with an addition of the supernatural or in this case, Wakandan high tech.
The majority of the novel takes place in a neighborhood that the city and the world has forgotten about. It seems to be actively hidden much like Agloe is in The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd (2022). You have to be invited there or know someone who knows where it is to get there.
Unlike Agloe, though, this neighborhood is suffering a violent gentrification fueled by a new drug. How the drug and the gentrification and the neighborhood's disappearance all piece together makes for a compelling mystery. It also gives Okoye plenty to think about as she finds irony in the perceived wealth of the United States vs the obvious poverty in area — the exact opposite of her home.
Like every other Zoboi novel I've read, Okoye to the People sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. Okoye as a royal guard is a privileged traveler (00). Her travels are throughout New York City (00). Her main method of travel is the subway system (00).