‘You can attempt to imitate, but soul you cannot buy’-Amanda Seales
When I feel compelled to write these days, I try to have a pen and paper close by to catch my thoughts. As such, I brought some post-it notes and a pencil with me so that I would not forget a lot of things. My brother in Atlanta video called me as my hubby and I were in the theatre. He and his family were on their way to see Black Panther as well. At the end of the call, without saying a word, we all held up our fists-it was our ‘sign out’. I felt right in my spirit but a bit nervous that the naysayers would be right, that the film is over-hyped. What I know for sure follows….
Hard truth? This movie made me want to do my Googles about Africa. The real Africa. Every depiction was represented well. We genuinely do not know much about Africa or Africans. A group of boys in front of us died laughing every time they showed the Mursi/Chai/Tirma lip plate. African history is lost on the youth. I’m way behind too. This show was beautifully written and pretty! I said ‘You see that?’ way too many times!
My review might be lengthy, simply because of my colour and what representation means to me and what this film represented. First off, this movie represented every kind of black people there is out there. None of them are thrown away, even when they are on their face. We as a community stands UNIFIED. The Meek Mill/Drake beef is a great example, we joined in and laughed at the ‘Ls’ but we speak out and advocate for the ‘homie’ to be out of prison. We speak about unity the most, next to the LGBT community. In our hard times, we are very quick to congregate and know to lean on our brothers and sisters. This is hereditary, slaves were not allowed to congregate but it was in our nature to come together. Our strength, is in our numbers. I keep repeating this because the ‘colonizers’ are the minority in the world, yet new racial issues are given birth every day. As for Black Panther, that is the central theme, unity.
Killmonger was not wrong and his life experience cannot be brushed off as it is real out there! It’s his approach is what was damming. This is common for a lot those we refer to online as ‘ hoteps’. T’Challa was perfectly right, It isn’t in our nature to war, that is the conquerors way. M’baku holds his own and do not interfare but knows that there is strength when forces of good are joined to take down evil. W’Kabi is just a man that wants change, a weary man who made poor decisions. The symbolism of the constant meeting of tribes made me look at how much we fight against each other. Though we do not ravage nations and strip them of their culture, we also do not come together in this way anymore. Power, money, material things and ego boosting comes first. This country has to always have the best of the best. There is a them over there and we over here mentality. I wish I could see more unity for progressive movements and not just in times of misery. We will always have each others back, but do we also pull each other up with us? There was a lot of talk about ‘our way’ and this resonates within black families as our strong matriarchs teach us right from wrong. There are obvious lost causes as mentioned in the show but nothing instills fear to do right like most black mothers. I dare not use ‘black sheep’ as ‘black’ has enough stigmas attached to it. However, the efficiency of Wakanda made me feel like we could do so much more as a people.
On the plus side, this might be the era for change. Why? We are being represented differently on the media. The same media that controls everything we feel, think, hear and presume about everything and everyone in the world. The same media that only accepted a certain standardized image for representing races. The Stepin Fetchits are a thing of the past, thanks to Black-ish for putting me on. The same media that reach the masses by sensationalizing the news and continue to throw statistics up that scare our mothers. The same media that for years would allow one race to play many, no matter how horrible the characters looked. The same media, that pushes unrealistic, unnatural social ideals and images. This which we ‘lose’ many of our people over. That one image was to represent us all and so that was our aim and we tried in many ways, neglecting our roots. This is why representation matters. The upcoming generation can turn on their TVs and go online and see people just like the ones their parents tell them they could be. Even if you are stubborn as an ox, our representation on the public sphere is changing. There now is someone you can connect to. As odd as it sounds, we are the only race that calls ourselves kings and queens. This movie comes out with the exact thing we imagine ourselves to be and we need our children to see it. We need our impressionable teens to see it. We need our elders to see it and know their message is not lost. As for those who won’t support because the profits line the pockets of those who call Barbados -Bar-BAH-Dos, give us some time. We do not own the means to produce on these scales. Black people however are getting their time to represent….
An extra special shout out to the black women in this film. All of them represented us well. They all spoke up and were respected for their brain work. I could easily say that’s so and so eh and that’s my cousin. I see so much of my friends and aunts, sis-in-laws and mothers in these characters. Nakia was subtle and efficient and Okoye was strong and loyal. Ramonda was doting and open. Shuri was passionate and unapologetic. They all knew their strength and the fact that you cannot accept the status quo. They worked along side their men without needing to stroke their egos or use seduction. As equals. Mind powered and forward thinking. Listened to and accepted. They challenged their men, and they fell, knowing their goal is the same. There wasn’t a doubt in trust because they loved their selves first. Black women continued to be the backbone of society, ‘keeping the tempo’….