Black Panther: A Hidden Gem

Is Black Panther really for the culture?

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Some claim the film to be over-hyped, while others perceive it as a cultural movement.

After all the hype and major suspense, leading up to the official premiere day of “Black Panther.” I finally bought my ticket (a few days later because the movie was sold out the entire weekend) and with the company of my 7-year-old nephew, we headed out to join the glorious nation of Wakanda. (sigh) No, we didn’t join the wave of wearing traditional African garb. Truthfully, I don’t own any at the moment (yea, yea, I know shame on me). However, we still looked pretty good in our casual modern, westernized ensembles.

It’s refreshing to see Black actors (of all ages) step away from Hollywood’s stereotypical “Black roles” which often limit our narratives to enslavement, and a variety of other societal forms of oppression: drug dealers, impoverished/ struggling working class people, drug addicts and common victims of authoritative inflicted violence.

Let me just say this, any movie that makes you want to join a fictionalized nation is- in my opinion- a life changing and enjoyable experience. I’d love to live in Wakanda; if it were a real nation, I’d revoke my American citizenship and move there in a heartbeat.

I mean no shade to the hundreds of other classic Marvel superhero films that have countless remakes. Once again, no shade, noooo shade:(#AllMarvelSuperheroLivesMatter). It’s just Black Panther’s story-in contrast to his fellow Marvel counterparts- was never brought to the forefront and popularized in the mainstream. Black panther isn’t a new super hero on the scene, he’s nearly 6 decades old. So, yea, he’s pretty mature at this point.

I guess it’s fair to say, some of the best things are worth waiting for. & 2018 was definitely Black Panther’s time so shine.

It warmed my heart seeing various hues of beautiful brown complexion grace the cinematic screen and deliver their roles with ferocious power.

Black Panther presented more than just vibrant, intense combatting; dope high tech equipment, afrocentric beauty; national/cultural pride; innovation and traditional rituals. It depicts, the story of Africa in a positive, uplifting and forward thinking way- without the spoon fed HIStoric accounts of poverty and emaciated people. Before someone comes on here and tries to burst my proud ‘black panther bubble’ let me clarify; Yes,I’m aware the story is fictionalized. But there’s no denying that the influential sources derive from actual African cultures.

WahKinda LOVE? WAKANDA LOVE.

 

Another thing, I’ve been keeping in my hypercritical mind when it comes to watching movies are the overt portrayals of love and the role(s) each love interest plays.

Now, we all know it’s clear who the film’s central love interests are: T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)

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T’Challa plays the role of a powerful leader who is both influenced and weakened by women. His sister Shuri, is a young innovative scientist, whose technologically advanced inventions- with the use of a natural resource (vibranium)-enhances T’Challa’s abilities, allowing him to seem nearly indestructible against his opponents. It’s with Shuri’s inventions that T’Challa simultaneously defeats and protects his precious Wakanda.

 

The film projects heterosexual love in a different light for both genders; Love is perceived as patient, unwavering, persistent, protective, and eternal. The love T’Challa displays for his country and lover, Nakia, are somewhat similar, yet deeply disparate.

The romanticized stereotypes of male obsession, sexual acts, conversations revolving around the male figure were not present in this film. Tbh, I’m relieved. I’m beyond tired of these redundant, cliche plot lines.

Neither, T’Challa or Nakia, portray cliche gender biased characteristics (i.e., the female= submissive or usually lacking self-confidence, sometimes both; male= dominate, popular and physically attractive) instead T’Challa and Nakia demonstrate their strong rapport through mutual respect and balance. The males in the utopian society of Wakanda level the playing field by showing respect for their women through, inclusion, understanding, leadership and influence. There is an overall respect for female influence in Wakanda.

I find  T’Challa’s inability to think or speak freely in Nakia’s presence so cute and innocent. What’s even more humorous about it, is how often he’s teased for his act. Once again, there is a clear message of the strength feminine aura upholds in this society and its undeniably powerful influence on men.

Nakia asserts her power by vocalizing her wants and aspirations to T’Challa. Although Nikia is offered the  honor of claiming the throne as T’Challa’s wife and Queen of Wakanda; she chooses  to follow her own path and fulfill her desires before settling for a life blanketed with comfort (You go girl!).T’Challa respects her wishes and continues to show his undying love for Nakia in other ways.

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I appreciate the writers and most importantly the characters for showing us that it’s possible to express love far beyond the confines of physicality or intimacy. Not once was there an act of sexual expression or subliminal messages. Thank God! It would’ve been awkward having to explain that to my nephew. 

Both characters were aware of their significant roles in one another’s lives, but used their love to join forces to fight for their even greater love, Wakanda.

So, to answer the question. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe Black Panther

is the culture

for the culture

and is a representation of the culture.

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