Below are my thoughts on the movie Black Panther after seeing it. Last month before seeing Black Panther for the first time I blogged about why I was so excited to see it. If you haven’t yet read It’s Not Just A Movie, my blog on my thoughts before seeing it, please read it first for context before you read this blog, Wakanda Forever.
I am amazed. I am stunned. I am so thankful. Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler, brought an amazing movie to life that I needed for myself and that we needed as a country. After seeing Black Panther I was overwhelmed my the amazing dialogues, spontaneous laughs, and instant camaraderie I experienced with others that saw the movie.
Last month I wrote a blog, “It’s Not Just A Movie”, which explained why I was so excited to see Black Panther. Now that I have seen Black Panther a couple of times, well more like five times, I’ll touch on the four reasonings that I gave but now from the perspective of having seen the movie.
Reason number one, an almost all black cast in a major film. Before seeing Black Panther I knew the cast was almost all black, I mean I blogged about it, but yet I was still amazed by this when I saw the movie. One of my favorite scenes is during the first challenge when the different tribes of Wakanda were shown on the cliff. Umm can you say black people galore! During that scene I was overwhelmed in a good way because of all the beautiful black people that were united together to cheer on their king. Seeing people that looked like me drew me in to the movie over and over and over again. (This is probably why I have seen Black Panther five times, because it was like nothing my eyes had ever seen before.)
Reason number two, representation matters. After seeing Black Panther for the first time, walking out of the movie theater I was so proud to be black and I wondered if this is what people from majority culture feel like after they see a movie with a majority white cast. I wondered if white people feel proud, feel like they can accomplish anything, feel like they are the most important people group in the world, because that is how I felt after watching Black Panther. Yes I know that no one people group, race, or ethnicity is more important than another but Black Panther left me feeling like black people were important, that black people mattered, and that black people can accomplish anything because of what the characters accomplished.
I have heard countless stories where little black boys and girls look at pictures of T’Challa and other characters from Black Panther and say he/she looks like me. That may seem like something small to you, but that makes me want to cry tears of joy. Children, and adults, need to see positive, uplifting characters everywhere that look like them, especially in movies. Without this type of representation some black children will grow up not knowing the greatness that lies within them, sometimes because they aren’t exposed to that greatness in their own lives for a variety of different reasons.
Reason number three, a generation of black children, and even adults, will be empowered and inspired by what they see in the film Black Panther. Seeing T’Challa, Shuri, Nakia, Okoye, W’kabi, and M’Baku, characters that look like me, battle for and save their country, left me feeling untouchable. It left me feeling like I matter in this world, feeling proud to black, feeling beautiful, and feeling like a warrior. In a country that screams out being black is dangerous, being black is ugly, being black is poverty, being black is unsuccessful, being black is uneducated, Black Panther showed me that those were all lies. I can only imagine with a smile on my face the thousands of black girls and boys, women and men, that left theaters around the world feeling empowered and determined in a way they never have before.
Reason number four, black excellence. Hopefully after reading my blog “It’s Not Just A Movie” and watching Black Panter you now know what I mean by black excellence. Black excellence was everywhere in Wakanda, that is why I am determined to find Wakanda and move there after marrying a Wakandan. The slogan Wakanda Forever is so much more than just a slogan. Wakanda Forever is a reminder of the black excellence that is displayed in Wakanda. Black excellence in Wakanda is the royal family loving, protecting, serving, and providing for one another. Black excellence is the beautiful culture within the whole nation of Wakanda and also the individual tribes. Black excellence is the jobs of the king, engineer, spy, warrior, and the many other positive jobs. Black Panther showed millions around the world the excellence within the diverse black community.
Yes Black Panther is a fictional movie. And yes, I guess, Wakanda is a fictional country. But, Black Panther is real. Black Panther is real because it addressed so many issues and topics that we need to talk about today. Black Panther is real because it is what the world has been needing. Black Panther is real because it brought to the world the beauty of people group that has often been portrayed in a negative way. Black Panther is more than a movie because it has inspired me in a way that no other movie ever has.
Black Panther is a movie that I will own once it comes out on DVD. Black Panther is a movie that my future children will watch over and over again during their childhood. Black Panther is a movie I will talk about forever. Wakanda Forever!