Black Panther, Part One: Why Are You Mad?
My first sighting of the Black Panther was in Captain America: Civil War. I’ll admit that I had to go back and watch it again because although I was hype to see King T’Challa, Falcon was there too and I really didn’t understand his significance just yet. But baby, all Summer ‘17 they were talking Black Panther. I saw the trailer and started counting down like a mad woman. My best friend and I were pumped.
Disclaimer: I have not read any of the comic books. I know when Black Panther was introduced to Marvel because I researched it last year. I do, however, watch all hero movies because I have an obsession for those types. Please don’t use my naivete' of the comic book world to diminish my love and respect for the movies. Thanks in advance.
I want to get into the nitty of the gritty by asking you a simple question, why are you mad?
On Thursday, February 15, social media LIT UP. People from all over were sharing their excitement about the premier of Black Panther. For months, audiences discussed the attire for their movie date. Most agreed that we would show up and show out. It was exciting to see people so excited, it got me hype. We purchased our tickets several weeks ago for the Saturday post-opening, so I had to grin and bare through all the photo shoots and non-spoiling reviews. Then, my timeline started to taste a little salty. Associates started to look and sound a little mad.
Never in a million years would I have expected to see negative press about Black Panther from black people. I know you’re like, girl please, everything comes with a little negative. And I agree. However, I just didn’t expect it from the supposedly woke folk I thought they’d be most down for the cause. Instead, they were reaching for reasons to discredit this awesomeness.
The first thing I read was: Black Panther isn’t really a black movie.
Lesson 1: Stop drawing conclusions of the inside based on the outside alone.
People were looking at the Marvel logo and allowing it to ‘distract’ them from the melanin magic on the big screen. From where I’m standing, the fact that it was Marvel makes it huger. Why you ask? Because now, our glory is before an extremely diverse audience. It won’t be just us in those movie seats, it’s everybody. Let that sink in. Everybody!
Why are you mad at that, slim?
The second thing I read was: 25% of the revenue generated should be donated to black communities.
Lesson 2: Instead of waiting for some global shift to take place, focus on building bridges in your own communities.
Ya’ll! Marvel is a business. Moviemaking is a business. Yes, it would be awesome to have some funds donated but without that being a part of the plan at the forefront, I don't know how that would be possible now. It is my belief that we have to stop waiting for these people to move mountains on our behalf and take it upon ourselves to do the work. Do the work how you ask? By banding together, by supporting one another, by recycling our dollars in our communities, and most importantly, electing officials who serve our interest.
Because, I'll be honest with you, even if they were to donate the money to our communities, whose to say that the recipient of those funds would do the right thing? So instead of relying on them or faulting them because they don't donate, let's create some waves in our communities together. I'm doing my part, are you?
The third thing I read was: Ya'll ain't get this hype over Birth of a Nation or, insert a perceived 'blacker' film here.
Lesson 3: Stop looking for a reason to be on the opposing side.
Some people are so used to being oppressed that they create the oppression. You create controversy and divide by your inability to see the good in this monumental step forward. We went from complaining about being underrepresented to now being represented to the fullest. And not in chains or verbally degraded. Instead, we are the head. Ya'll, we are the head in this. We are the richest. We are the most advanced. We are the most civilized.
How can you complain about that?
How? How? How?
I vowed that I would wait until Monday to start talking about Black Panther, and well, it's Monday, so let's talk.