It surpassed all Marvel Studios movie advance ticket sales by millions of dollars.
It exceeded movie critics’ expectations by leaps and bounds. Even Rotten Tomatoes gave it 97 percent—the highest it has ever ranked a movie.
And, it serves as a catalyst for change in terms of altering the narrative of how a majority African American cast movie will be embraced by consumers—not just domestically, but internationally as well!
Yes—I’m talking about Black Panther.
Before I go knee deep into the blog, I have something to say to every Black person reading this: if you did NOT see Black Panther this past weekend, kindly send your Black Card in a secure envelope to the KeepingIt100LA address on our website. If you don’t mail it in within 21 days of receiving this notice, we will take measures to deactivate your card on our own.
Yes, Black Panther was riveting in many ways—strong social justice elements, cultural pride, profoundly uncanny technology, action for days, woman empowerment (on steroids), an inseparable family, an amazing allegiance to its country, and a true love story. Black Panther was exciting, sad, funny and intriguing in so many ways. It also has us all transitioning from the Barack & Michelle Obama fist bump to the cleverly orchestrated handshake dap followed by a fist clutching, chest crossing gesture, that helps us all remember Wakanda cultural pride!
Now there are several characters in this movie I could reflect upon. But for the purposes of this blog, let’s focus on one main character in the movie: Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens.
Killmonger was built up from jealous usurper to someone who wants to destabilize the world’s class system because he’s witnessed the oppression and brutality that Black people—in the United States AND around the world have endured. If that wasn’t an emotional drive for him, then the murder of his father certainly is. And that’s where the parallel between King T’Challa and Killmonger drives even deeper. It sounds like a cliché, but they really are two sides of the same coin. It’s easily arguable that if he had been raised in Wakanda he could have easily been a hero. But if you’ve seen the film, the then king of Wakanda walks away from the murder situation and essentially leaves young Killmonger alone for him to find his father dead at the hands of his own brother. A real punk move fo sho on behalf of the so-called protector of Wakanda.
What should be noted here is one “small” decision nearly destroyed the country we’ve all come to love and revere. Wakanda nearly was ruined by Killmonger’s legitimate anger, and its long-standing value system was nearly destroyed.
Here’s the point—if you bypass those unresolved issues in your life, you will simply put the proverbial band-aid on the bullet wound.
Let’s not kid ourselves—many of us won’t ask the tough questions. We won’t do the work. We really don’t want to hear the truth. We want to find ways to blame trends and timing and other weak reasons why someone isn’t the right person. But it’s time to look at yourself in the mirror. You think that disappointment in high school was just a youthful experience that you’ve left behind years ago. Truth is you never really dealt with it, and instead, quite possibly chose to build a fortress around that pain with education, power, position, and friends.
I don’t know what your Wakanda moment is here—meaning, the small detail that no one has seen that clearly got swept under the rug. Like little Erik Killmonger, he didn’t see his father get killed but he did see the claws in his father’s chest. Similarly, in our personal lives, there may be evidence that something has damaged us and eventually that pain will be revealed or inflicted upon the person you are dating.
Do the person a favor that’s praying to meet you – begin to do the work to heal yourself. Because we all want to see Wakanda thrive.
Photo source: Marvel/INHDW