Character Type: Primary
Summary: Ayo was a member of the Dora Milaje, a Wakandan royal guard, and served as a personal guard for Princess Shuri. She falls in love with Aneka, a fellow Dora Milaje, and the two go on to create the Midnight Angels. One of the most popular characters in the franchise, Aneka was also featured in Black Panther: World of Wakanda, written by Roxane Gay.
Database Links: Marvel Wiki, Gay League
Important Issues: In Black Panther: World of Wakanda #2, Ayo shares a kiss with Aneka.
Alitha E. Martinez's visual 'portrayl of Ayo and Aneka's first kiss in #2 highlights the erotic imagery of the moment through an intimate close-up. She refuses to fall into exploitative sensationalism and the traps of fetishism or scopophilia, as sometimes happens with the portrayal of female sexuality, particularly that of queer women and women of color, in comics and media. (Read more)
Maite Urcaregui, "World of Wakanda: Short-lived but powerful tale of fierce, queer love," Women Write About Comics, February 14, 2018.
Aneka and Ayo are far from the silent Black women standing behind the throne, defending the King while they wait to be chosen as his Queen. They question everything. They debate and argue even as they follow orders. They repeatedly declare that while they are loyal, they are not blind. They are, in short, complicated, realistic characters whose burgeoning rebellion is as interesting as their growing relationship. (Read more)
Andrea Rose Clarke, "Aneka & Ayo: My Dora Milaje Research Continues," Sister from Another Planet, July 11, 2018.
Ayo and Aneka in the Black Panther comics offer a representation of lesbian women of color reclaiming space within a traditional heteropatriarchal system. André M. Carrington explains that Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of the writers of the newest articulations of Black Panther comics, expressed extreme discomfort with representing the Dora Milaje as they existed in the original series—“a scantily clad troop of female bodyguards...it felt like a male fantasy, they seemed to me almost to be jewelry for the Black Panther.” (Read more)
Michaela D. E. Meyer, "Black Panther, queer erasure, and intersectional representation in popular culture," Review of Communication, 20(3), 2020.