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The Black Panther Movement

Written by [(i’zek)]

The current landscape of the Hollywood blockbuster arena is littered with superhero movies the same way vampires were the moneymaker some years back (I am glad those days are behind us). Now, with Marvel leading the ranks in comic book superhero media, Black Panther was guaranteed to be a success. But the financial success of this movie may not be able to accurately measure the culture and historical impact that this movie may have on us for years to come.

Some could say that this is perfect time as Black Panther has fortunately for us, been released in an era where the definition of Black is firm yet pliable. Where Black Power is recognized but it is not yet solidified. The Black Panther film may add another well-needed layer to the foundation that we have been building upon for many years. The layer of a strong positive self image. Black Panther is laced with allusions regarding very intricate aspects of the African Diaspora. Somehow this movie speaks to the condition and ultimately the reconditioning of the black mindset and perspective. We may even notice how this movie will slowly become more impactful and influential as the years go by. But why? How can a simple superhero movie potentially change the dynamic of our Diaspora?

For one, Black Panther is an immensely socially conscious movie that captures your eye with gorgeous cinematography but captivates your mind with deep philosophical concepts and themes. The themes used in Black Panther create almost a manifesto summing up the bulk of the black experience in its past, present and future. The historical and social references used are by themselves impactful—— Themes such the African vs. African-American debate, Wakanda similarities to Timbuktu, the similarities of T’Challa and Mansa Musa, the father-son dynamic from two completely different perspectives, black on black crime, the representation of the different tribes in Africa uniting, colonialism, the importance of strong black women in our communities, and even the title of the movie Black Panther reminds us of a certain social-political organization of the 70’s —— Honestly each theme could be isolated to be analyzed, interpreted and taught in any history, political, sociology and/or psychology class. The writing is dense ….

The most spiritual superhero movie to date —— From rituals to communicate with ancestors for insight, to each character’s spiritual journey, to T’Challa’s path he has to take to become, not only a hero, but a King. This theme is important because in today’s “woke” society we may often hear us exchange greetings such as “Peace, King” “How are you, Queen” —— Black Panther inserts substance to what is now watered down terminology. Throughout the movie we hear characters say to T’Challa “today is your day to be king” “stand up you are a king”, but the most impactful statement that was said in the film was “you get to decide what type of king you will be”. This is important because as we get to see T’Challa evolve as leader, a man and a hero. We also get to watch his evolution as a King. What we tend to forget sometimes is that we often desire to connect ourselves with our ancestor’s regality and somehow forge ourselves into royalty. Now we are all now “kings” and “queens” but without true substance this generic interaction is apparently a lackluster attempt to heal ourselves. Through T’Challa’s challenges and triumphs we see the accountability, the responsibility, and most importantly, the servitude, that it takes to be King.

All of these elements combined influence the Black audience to seek out a Wakandan like utopia. Black Panther’s focus on not just storytelling and character development but of principle and philosophy has inspired a generation of us to build our own Wakanda and how to become royalty. Upon deep reflection and introspection one can deduce that the way Black Panther is written is almost an instructive narrative on how we should conduct ourselves going forward. The film is full of philosophies that evoke intense revelations…. we should work together, we should reconcile our differences amongst ourselves, we should rectify our past and we should, most importantly, share our resources with our brother’s and sister’s worldwide to build our future with peace, productivity, positivity and prosperity.

We are already starting to see more of Black America embrace the ideologies of what has been dubbed “Afrofuturism”. What will be interesting to see is how 5 years 10 years from now the Black Panther movement will evolve, not only the entire culture, but also each individual in it. How has seeing the Black Panther influenced your personal revolution?

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