Monday, March 5, 2018

The Wonders of Wakanda: The Aftermath of Marvel’s Black Panther (No Spoilers)

After my first time seeing the movie, I was still taking it all in. 

It is a fictitious land with a real-life impact: Welcome to Wakanda!

A nation that is rich in its origin. It is preserved. In the world of Marvel, Wakanda is the world’s best-kept secret. In every Wakandan tribe, there is a regularity, an expectation that  “Black” is royal. “Black” equates advanced and genius, rich in assets and resources. “Black” means strong and cultured, and is respectful and respected. “Black” is diverse, and its greatest wealth is culture.

Perhaps it was actress Angela Bassett who delivered one of the most powerful lines in the movie: “Show them who you are!” she commands as the mother of T’Challa.This particular scene was a monumental moment for the Black Panther. It was a reminder for those of us watching him battle for his throne, that who we state ourselves to be is not only a declaration – it is our power.

Wakanda allows children and adults (alike) to escape to a world where Mother Africa still has her virgin roots. The imaginary journey the film provides is especially sweet for those of us who consistently battle society’s agenda to push the fallacy that blackness has no value. Wakanda shatters every lie and glass ceiling regarding. The movie is a memento that there is greatness in the genes. The film raises a question for black people of all ethnicities: Will we be our ancestors worst nightmares or biggest dreams?

A black superhero – backed by beautiful, bald and bold black women – fighting a black villain, all while uniting and teaching a colorful world, through a brilliant storyline. The film’s imagery gives kids from the hoods of New York City to the Hills of Hollywood a chance to point to the screen and say “I’m this, I’m that one!” It is a gift to see oneself represented on-screen through the features and colors of Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright (to name a few).

When the screen fades to black, it makes one wonder, if Wakanda were real, who would you be? Not which character but you as yourself? Today’s world needs leaders, kings and queens, warriors, dreamers, techies, strong men and courageous women who fight for others. We need people (of all colors) to unite and raise their voices for those who are under-represented, persecuted and under-served. Today’s world needs ceiling breakers and history-makers like the film’s director Ryan Coogler. We need more writers and artists like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who will go against the grain and use their pens to write stories that support inclusion.

Have you seen the movie? Did you feel its effect? The contagion of self-acceptance it has! The influence and nobility of African heroes who impact both a fictitious and real world! No matter where you are come from, Black Panther inspires you to discover the power you have within – to understand the fact that “you are you and that is your superpower!” Fair warning: You will leave the theater feeling valorous, ready to “show them [the world] who you are!

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