Black Panther, Part Two: Son, Listen Up!
I can't get enough of Black Panther.
I stand by it being the best movie EVER, and it's not up for debate.
There were so many lessons in the span of two hours.
Just after T'Challa completed his fight with M'Baku and won his rightful place at the head of the Nation of Wakanda, he was buried in the ancestral sands. It was here that he would cross over from life to death to speak with his father. When he saw him, he fell to his knees exclaiming how he wasn't ready to live life without him. I had goosebumps, as the chills ran through my body. However, that moment paled in comparison to the words that would leave his fathers lips.
Stand up, you are a King! - T’Chaka
I am pretty sure I stopped breathing for 13.5 seconds. I wanted to grab my phone to take notes, but I was scared I'd miss something equally as moving. This line is soul-glowing. It's life-changing. It's eye-opening on so many level. It's the words we should all be whispering to our little boys. In a cold world that's filled with negative influences. It's important that they believe in themselves so much that they stand even when their knees grow weak. As parents, we know there will be times when their confidence will be tested, when their beliefs will be challenged, when their talents will be disregarded. And that's why we must remind them of who they are.
As I continued to watch the movie on the edge of my seat, every scene seemed to draw me in closer and deeper. I watched Killmonger. I listened to his story, and I didn't see him as a villain at all. I saw him as a young man wanting to belong. Sure, I saw the African American vs African story line too, but the need to belong really resonated with me. His father was killed. No mention of his mother. We don't know how he grew up. All we know is he did pretty well from himself-climbing the ranks of the military-from the outside looking in. From the inside looking out, he was in training to rear his vengeance. His belonging was ripped from him.
He reminded me of all the little boys and girls out here 'needing' to belong. Whether that be to the in-crowd or any crowd for that matter, the need is there. And sadly, when left unmet negative consequences are imminent.
When I was growing up, my grandmother used to tell me don't worry about the adolescent trials and tribulations. She told me I could have a stick as my friend. Obviously, walking around talking to a stick would have only ostracized me more, but I understand, now, what she was doing. She wanted me to be able to stand on my own. She wanted me to be free from the burden of needing friends, so much so, that I was willing to do whatever I had to-to get them.
My grandmother knew I was hurting. I was the only one in my immediate family who didn't get to meet my sister. She knew how much I longed for that void to be filled. And she wanted me to be smart about who I chose to fill it. Belonging to a group that doesn't mean you well is just as damaging as having an unmet need to belong.
Just because something works doesn't mean it can't be improved. - Shuri
Shuri was so special to me and her character was necessary. She made me get my whole life together. Shuri, although fictional, was a representation of what's possible when we work hard. She is exactly what I want my son and the students I mentor to see. She had a number of one-liners that got a chuckle or two out of me, but this one had me at hello.
We can't get comfortable. Even if we are good at it, we must still practice.
Black Panther moved me from start to finish. It inspired me to remind my son to stand up because he is a King. I will make sure he always feels connected, because he belongs. And, I will continue to remind him that even good can be better.
What conversations will you have?