On February 7, I was thoroughly blessed to be invited to the Atlanta screening of Marvel’s already record-breaking upcoming blockbuster “Black Panther,” set to be released worldwide February 15th.
While it’s pretty much well known this movie is amazing (100% on rotten tomatoes, Ashe Ancestors!), I wanted to guide the unknowing reader to the feeling of anticipation and the big why this movie will be a critical inflection point to the shift in Hollywood regarding representation.
Right On Time
It is 2018.
Organized chaos jumpstarts the energy of the room
Electric feels as hundreds, black and white, prance and dance
Laugh and smile
Rejoicing, Milly rocking, and “Aye!.. Aye!…Aye!” – ing in the answering of the long-awaited prayer that is Black Excellence (with no white male savior bullshit) presented on the big screen…..
My heart is racing sitting to myself encompassing the vivacity of the arena.
Peering among the aisles of traditional wear, kente-inspired clothes and bomb fits for days.
The elderly, the teens, the children i.e the whole village plus gateman has come to see this film eh.
I stare at the star power before me of the “Black Panther” promotional poster frozen on the screen.
My heart beats like drum, beats for joy, beats damn near out of chest out of love (or Chadwick’s lips) for my fellow Africans in diaspora who will get to see Africans represented as they should,
Strong, Independent, Intelligent, Traditionally Honorable People. In contrast to a majority of American films who paint my native peoples to be dumb-witted, scammers who do not know English.
(FYI a majority of African Countries’ national languages are either English or French)
It. Is. 2018.
And my mind is racking on why.
We have had a (small) slew of black superheroes, call on Hancock, Green Lantern John Stewart, Luke Cage, even Blade was Marvel’s first blockbuster in history starring Wesley Snipes. So what gives? Why?
Why didn’t the New Negro Movement 2.0 have this apex sooner? Haven’t black and POC voices been pushing and succeeded for years now?
But it’s 2018
And we have social media, we have platforms of our own, we are in an uber unique time period of race relations meeting our utopian-esque society (if you don’t think we live in the future, refer back to your grade school books featuring them).
Had this come out, lets say 2008, the time of the first “Iron Man” and “The Hulk,” a “Black Panther” movie would’ve came and went, probably below average press runs, below average budget, unknown ish/rising actors. A lot of factors that would make this movie just another “black” movie we wished got the respect it deserved.
And we are in a millennial civil rights movement, and this movie will go down in history as coming at the perfect time. The time where the diaspora must find community and fix a damaged one. The time where little black children need their own superheroes (not the black version of [insert name here] ). The time where movies hold political undertones because they are the largest platform to get the word across. It’s 2018 and “Black Panther” came right on time.
So I take my seat, and the crowd cheers as Samuel L. Jackson (!) gives the last speech (after the President of the MPAA, The Vice President of Marvel and the Attorney General of GA spoke) before the room goes dark. And I am overjoyed throughout every moment of the film I have to hold back tears. Thank you director Ryan Coogler and screenwriter Joe Robert Cole. 5/5
Fav Quote: “Don’t Scare Me Like That, Colonizer!” – Shuri (T’Challa/Black Panther’s little sister)