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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According to America, not all are created equally 

I woke up this morning with a prayer in my heart and rapid thoughts running through my mind
My black People this oppressive society was not made for us
This society was not made to love us

No matter how good we do and who we strive to be, we are always perceived as the public’s enemy.

I fear for my brothers; they go to work everyday, pay their bills on time, pay their taxes and strive to be better each day

But of course when you’re black the world doesn’t see all the good you do, 

When you’re black only negativity and racial stigmas surround you.

When you’re black that’s all people see 

Your skin complexion and not the person you are or strive to be

Truthfully I’m tired and afraid

I fear one day I’ll become yet another helpless and unprotected victim to this mass racial genocide. 

They want us to hide! 

But we won’t 

Black people, my beautiful people.

 We are divided within our own and they see that. They know that no matter how much of us they kill, they won’t get convicted, instead they’ll walk off free. Walk freely as if no harm was done and a human being whose life was valuable became invaluable in a split second. 

They’re killing us based on centuries of normalization to brutalize, terrorize and assassinate “negroes” & “niggers”.

They’ve made a career out of hunting us down and terminating us like innocent, helpless prey. 

Yet, we’re the savages!

I’m so tired of this! I’m scared! I don’t want to live in fear, but just like Eric Garner, Emmett till, trayvon Martin, not one of my fellow black ppl knew their end was near! 

We need help! This is a cry for justice! 

We’re not equal.

My black people don’t believe their lies and hypocrisy 

Please don’t allow them to make Alton Sterling yet another police brutality  account.

 We deserve change

we deserve justice. 

These persecutors need to be punished

I don’t know who else to go to or where to complain. Our voices, our protests, and our poetry are only heard in vain

No one takes us seriously 

No one wants to  feel our pain. 

Black Identity Crisis in America: How do you identify yourself?

Lately,one of the most controversial topics of discussion that has the black community uneasy is Raven Symone’s undermining of her cultural roots in her televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The black community reacted in upheaval by expressing their frustration on various social sites. During the interview  Symone identified herself as being solely an American and not wanting to be labeled as “African-American”. Symone’s preference of being called American, definitely exudes her patriotism, but makes her look (in my opinion) ignorant and unappreciative of her culture. Numerous people of the black community, (Africans,African-Americans,West-Indian, bi-racial,etc.)who had seen or heard by word of mouth, were either  baffled, dumbfounded or you can even say offended. However,the common emotion the black community shares is utter outrage.

It’s sad to know that there was a period where OUR history was disallowed. Black history was not to be mentioned, much less taught. The goal was to assimilate our people and brainwash the minds of African-Americans.It’s heart-aching to know that there was a time in which we didn’t matter, after all the contributions the Black community had done to develop the American nation.

In this circumstance it would seem common, even justifiable for me to join the fellow angered population,but I will not. I believe Raven Symone, just like the large list of “people” (maybe I should call them brown people) who do not want to be categorized as Africans, possess the constitutional right to exercise their freedom of speech. They are allowed to be liberated human beings with their own beliefs, thoughts, and judgement even if “we” (the people who share the same color) disagree.

My personal concern with the black/colored community of America in general, is the need for identification and feeling of belonging. We all know America is a melting pot which is composed of myriad nationalities and cultural backgrounds.However, racial ancestry indeed proves that black/brown people are all direct descendants of Africans. There are so many stereotypes surrounding Africans and I believe that is why there are current “black Americans” who do not wish to identify their selves as African-American. Quite frankly, I perceive their logic as senseless and hypocritical.

  • Why do you not want to be associated with Africans?
  • Is African culture a disgrace to you ?
  • When the word African, precedes American does it make you feel dehumanized or less American?

I just want to say this to all those out there who are Black Americans. The HIStory being taught in American educational systems is not the complete story, it is just a small synopsis of a much larger and in depth novel. So if you think your ancestry begins with slavery and ends with the civil rights movement, then my precious darlings you have so much more to learn.  I say this because I am the product of the American public school system.Each year,since my enrollment in school, teachers taught the same boring, repetitive black history curriculum. The black history lessons became less exciting to me.However, during my junior year of college I took a Black studies course and my horizons were broadened, Although I’d love to list all the things I’ve learned, I will save my readers the agony. Let’s just say the information I acquired within that 4 month course is powerful enough to remain with me for a lifetime.

The point I am making is, if it wasn’t for that course I probably would not want to be categorized as African-American. Then I would be lost, trying to find something to identify myself with.

If you are not African or  a descendant of Africans, then what are you ? who are you?