Culture,  LIFE |

Day 16 – Modern Black Superhero, Black Panther

Welcome to Day 16!

I know, I know – the movie Black Panther is creating all kinds off conversation and controversy and you could probably do without yet another post on it but so what.  It’s Black History Month, I can’t wait to see it so this will have to be be article #15,275.

WHY THE MOVIE IS SO SIGNIFICANT

Name SEVEN black superheroes (you can’t use Black Panther).  Ready, set and go!

Unless you’re into comics or just a really smart person, you probably got stuck after Luke Cage or Storm like I did and when I tried to think a little harder, the only others that came to mind was that character Bill Dee Williams played way back in The Empire Strikes Back and Damon Wayans as Blankman

Considering the 75 plus years Marvel has been in the comic books business and the thousands of characters and heroes, Black Panther IS a big deal for blacks (and people of African descent) because it is the first black hero in his own movie.  Let me say it louder for the people in the back – Black Panther IS a big deal.

BECAUSE WE NEEDED A BLACK HERO

Haters will hate and hate and hate.  If you did a quick search you would see how a lot of people want this movie to fail and are actually complaining that the movie is racist because the majority of the cast is black and there is a black director (and a very large budget).

For those who didn’t know, Black Panther was the first black comic book character to have a title of which he was the lead character and represents a strong, intelligent and resourceful character.  In a world where representation of different group seems to be such a major challenge, we needed to see a positive image like this on the big screen.

Jack Kirby’s original concept for Black Panther

Everything about this hero (T’Challa) and what the messages and mission are all good things, so the people screaming racism and discrimination are just idiots.  I could certainly make a entire post about the continued lack of diversity in Hollywood (just take a look at the winners from last year’s Academy Awards), but thanks to the research by some good people at University of Southern California, School of Annenberg, this problem was summarized.

Just consider the fact that it is 2018 and we are still using the reference “the first black…”.

Graphics from Dr. Stacy L Smith

FIGHTING FOR THE CAUSE

T’Challa is that dude and the roles of the other cast members are equally significant because neither the comic book or the movie were set up to dance around those uncomfortable issues facing blacks in real life.  Powerful political themes, colonialism, racism and gender equality are dealt with head on.

I think that makes the haters and the Internet trolls nervous as one writer so put it, a movie with “a fictional African King with the technological war power to destroy you—or, worse, the wealth to buy your land..” may be a bit too much for some.

IT SHOWS THE OTHER SIDE OF AFRICA

What normally comes to mind when you think of Africa? War, famine, poverty, dusty roads and wild animals and for the first time in oh..forever, there is a major film showing the motherland in a completely different light making the imaginary kingdom of Wakanda nothing short of a magical utopia.

BLACK WOMEN PUSH ALL THE WAY THROUGH

They are the real main characters of this movie so there, I said it.

The cultural impact of seeing these women of color in such powerful roles such as that of  scientist, warrior, Queen Mother, and spy is is significant because these are images we rarely see on the big screen.  Too often black women are cast in the cookie cutter roles such as the slave or single,  strong black woman so to see their domination in a film where they have so much power without supernatural power is amazing.

Why on earth would we not want to celebrate a movie like this?  I’ve been reading so many articles and different perspectives on both the comic and the movie I’m even more excited to see it.  This isn’t just any black movie, it is a revolutionary movie that was long overdue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:  The Watchyard, Time, USA Today,

 

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