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Black Panther/Black Pride

By Zarena Leblanc

That movie was everything! The World of Wakanda is beautiful. The people who live in Wakanda are beautiful. Director, Ryan Coogler, created something masterful in his depiction of an “uninterrupted” oasis in the continent of Africa and the country of Wakanda.  While at the Movie Theater I was sitting behind a number of Black families and friends watching the film and I was thankful. The way we experience watching a movie like this is never as evident as when watching it with people who have been through the color struggle here. We have conversations and real time reactions to the movie that don’t stay quiet. Thank Goodness!

Representation matters, especially Black representation. Someone around the world, after watching this film, saw themselves validated and worthy watching Chadwick Boseman’s King T’challa adorn regal clothing, speak proudly even when he was in doubt about himself, and show adoration for all of the women in his life. The mythical king had a taste of what a perfect Black community could look like. Begging the question what would civilization in Africa look like had it not been for the effects of Western colonization? In the African world presented by The Black Panther, we see a monarchy where feminism is not an idea, it is the norm. We see a society that regards its people with respect. We saw Black men with their heads held high. It gave me goose bumps and I am sure someone was changed by watching this film.

The movie starts off with the story of how the Black Panther arose centuries ago, a story of courage and a young man, the first Black Panther, rewarded for that. Then it cuts to an urban Oakland, California during the year of 1992. Connections between the treatment of Black and Brown persons as it is maintained in the world today is not forgotten in this film, which credits the director, producers and writers as being very aware of the Black space this film needs to fill within the Marvel franchise.

The fact that The Black Panther derives from a comic book does not escape me. Historically, good comic books depict a fantastical reality of the world we live in and super heroism, as a genre, is a response to the concerns of what is happens in reality at the time. That was not forgotten by the director, the writer, the costume makers and the actors. This film is well worth watching for recognizing the social and political climate of what the last 500 years has been like for Black Folks in the United States.

If you’re paying close attention while watching you will hear, acknowledge and understand the power that is Blackness and what understanding and knowing your history can do to your psyche. If you’re not “mmmhmmm”-ing or clapping or laughing along with the film. Make sure you watch it again, you might have missed something. The main reason to go see this film is to remind ourselves of who you are and when asked “Who are you?” you have your unwavering answer.

Zarena Leblanc

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