Last weekend I went to see Black Panther in theaters, and let me tell you that few movies have had such an impact on me. This movie could not have come at a better time, and I can't wait to see where they take this movie series! But before that time comes around, let me share with you my 5 reasons why you NEED to see Black Panther...like yesterday.
1. I'm in Love with the Coco
I don't believe I have ever seen a movie that has made me be so proud and excited to be black. Black Panther makes me love and appreciate my black skin. Growing up, there was often the token singular black sidekick in TV shows and movies, but here I was able to see so many people who look like me owning it on the big screen. It was enough to bring me to tears. I hope that this can be another step towards equality in racial representation in cinema. I long for a future where my kids, nephews, and nieces can turn on a movie and see positively depicted role models that look like them.
Few movies in Hollywood have ever had a predominantly black cast, or even a cast that is 50% black. I'm talking a handful of movies and can assure you that those that will readily come to mind more often than not have to do with slavery. Black Panther is so refreshing as it celebrates the dark skinned. It shows black people in the same light as Hollywood likes to show anyone else; as equal and beautiful. As human.
2. Not Black vs. White
While there is so much going on in today's society that more than warrants discussion through the wide platform that blockbuster film holds, I found Black Panther's approach to the Black vs. White narrative to be refreshing. By no means did the writers act as though racism is not a part of the world that we live in. Rather, they artfully highlighted the plight of so many of my African & African-American brothers and sister without removing the viewer from the story line. Rater than focusing in on black vs. white, west vs. non-west, good vs. evil, etc. Black Panther eschews the constraints with a much more nuanced perspective that highlights morality vs. immorality and right vs. wrong.
In the movie they do a great job of raising thought provoking subject areas such as Black on Black Crime and the Creating of a Criminal. Let's quickly talk about Black-on-Black crime. But before we dive to deep in, its important to first understand violent crime. Research shows us that people who fall in the socioeconomic classification of "poor" commit the most crimes. Now people in this category have more than twice the rate of violent crimes and not surprisingly a significant percentage of people below the poverty level in the United States is black people. But why? Why do blacks account for such a large percentage? Well Black Panther gives one great reason out of many, and this leads me to the Creating of a Criminal.
Back in the 80s the American government decided to crack down on the "crack epidemic" by throwing waves of black men into prison (guilty AND the innocent). This fed into the crippling cycle of socio-economic development that still plagues many black communities today. But the worst part of it all is that started because Cocaine was introduced to black communities as a method to spur economic activity during low points in 1980s America, but organizations did not want to destabilize white communities with these addictive substances. Read more HERE or HERE.
Black Panther does a great job of raising these issues and shedding light on a truth that is too often repressed.
3. Women Stepping In
In Black Panther, women are everywhere, stepping in and cleaning up so much mess. Not too far from real life...Black Women Save America, Black Women Save Democracy...this movie is filled with amazing women who step up and hold it down. Nuff said.
Probably one of the most artful pieces of this movie is how well they place comedic relief. The timing of jokes is on point, but what is even more impressive is the way that some of these jokes are written so as to give you food for thought. I spent so much of the movie laughing that my chest hurt. Now some of these jokes will be especially entertaining to those in the woke crowd, but don't worry there is a little something for everyone. And who doesn't love a good laugh?
Probably one of the most beautiful things to me in Black Panther was being able to see a group of Africans - even though it IS a made-up country - that had no sense of colonialism. They are proud of who they are, have no history of slavery or subconscious position of inferiority.
I cannot speak for other black men or women, but when I am completely honest with myself I know that there have been hundreds of times where I have put myself down out of a mindset of inferiority. When society is constantly telling you that you/your people aren't smart, capable, beautiful, equal, or of value it can easily become a mistruth you tell yourself. But I want to tell everyone reading this - no matter your skin color - that you are capable, you are beautiful and you deserve to be treated as an equal because you are equal to every other person. Tell yourself the true narrative of who you are and let go of society's and social media's opinions.
There are so so many reasons to love the movie Black Panther and what it signifies. I really hope that everyone has a chance to see this movie and enjoy another Marvel hit! If you go or have already been, let me know what you thought about the movie in the comments below!!
Images for the blog post have been sourced from Marvel.com & Google Images.
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