Black Panther Is Everything I’ve Been Waiting For & More (Spoilers...Obvi)
BRUH...Listen I know by know you’re probably tired of reading about Marvel’s Black Panther, but I don’t care. I would have written this last weekend when I saw the film three times, but there was so much to process, this is the first time I’ve been able to gather all my thoughts together. This film was amazing, not just as an entertainment vessel but for representation, black women empowerment, black narrative, black culture and so much more. I watched it the first time, Friday night opening with a sold-out screening of black folks (shout out to Amplify Africa & Black Book LA), I was so overcome with emotions ranging from pure black girl joy, stannin', tears, and the fact that black people were coming together from all over the world for this one thing. I have never in my life seen black people so damn happy. I had to go see it twice more to fully wrap my mind around this melanin greatness we are seeing on the big screen. So let’s talk about it.
THE FUCKING WOMEN!!! Like sorry but T’Challa who? The women were the stars of this film for me. I had to resist the urge to immediately go shave my head after watching the film and you already know who I’m going to be for Halloween. Dora Milaje, the deadliest group of warriors in the world are all black women. The is the first time I have ever seen every black woman in a film not only be leads, and have agency but literally, run all the shit. Like the whole country of Wakanda would be trash without these women. Shuri is the smartest person on the entire planet. Okoye is the baddest warrior on the planet and was ready to kill her man for her people, Nakia is a strategist and really the one who was doing what Killmonger wanted but in the correct way. Even Queen Ramonda who has a fairly small part (screen time wise) still plays a pivotal role. The women in this film were like "that's cute y'all men exist but we over here running things with or without you so get on board or get out the way". I got my whole entire life. I have never felt so proud to be a black woman than when I was watching this film. Pure black girl magic on the screen, throughout the entire movie.
Damn Near Everyone is Dark Skint
I will never stop talking about colorism Y'all. If you’re tired of it, then you might as well leave my page now. Colorism is a serious issue. When I went to the screening of this film, one of the people walking around asked me why I was so excited about Black Panther, and I said, “not only is this a majority black cast but also a dark skin cast” and the reporter (also black) was almost offended I said it. He laughed it off with a joke about how could I say something like that when he’s dark skin, and I looked him dead in his face “because it’s true”. In the past (and currently) whenever we get black representation, it’s always a light skin person. Cool, but what about the rest of us? And why this glorification of lighter skin over dark skin?
I have never seen a major film that has a full or majority dark skin cast. It has really only been within the last 10 years that dark skin people have been allowed to thrive on screen. I grew up in the 90s when they were actively pulling dark skin women off shows and kicking them out of their careers because dark skin “didn’t sell”. So to see a major feature film where everyone is dark skin, and aren’t portrayed as thugs, bitter and violent...again a first for me.
The Political Commentary
One of the things I really appreciate about this film is that I could see everyone’s point of view. They all had a point. Naika is the first to bring up how Wakanda should be doing more for oppressed people, and she believes this so much that she leaves her country. Killmonger has similar concerns. I found it very hard to be mad at him. His points were valid. In fact, after watching the film, I was looking at Wakanda sideways. They were kind of fuckboys. How you have all this power and technology and refuse to help oppressed people. Other people, who LOOK LIKE YOU? But at the same time, I also get not wanting to enable war for no reason. Nothing is solved if another group becomes the oppressor. Everybody had a point and really we could have just talked about it, but niggas had to just fight it out, I guess.
I think this film also addresses a lot of the tension that exists between Africans and African-Americans. There has always been a weird competition between Africans and African-Americans throwing shade at each other, believing one is more valid or more black than the other. I think there’s a lot of disdain between the two group as to why Africa didn’t help during the slave trades. Killmonger makes remarks about this throughout the film, especially when he refers to his ancestors jumping off slave ships to avoid slavery on his deathbed, while T’Challa realizes he and his daddy ain’t been shit this whole time. That’s the larger commentary throughout the film, but there are also small nods in the direction of other topics, like natural hair when Nakia and Okoye have on their wigs they hate so much or when T’Challa was going to kill Klaue but was reminded the whole world is watching, which touches on this reality that black people have to deal with being “the better person” when they shouldn’t need to be because we alright have these characteristics of violence assigned to us.
Black Women in STEM
Shuri is the best character in this film, hands down. I personally relate to Okoye more, but Shuri stole the film and is really the most important character. We never get to hear about or see women in STEM fields period, especially black women. We have always been seen as “not smart enough”. A young black girl (Shuri is supposed to be 16) being the smartest person on the planet and the one behind developing all this technology that is changing the way the world runs is huge for black girls. Had I seen someone like Shuri when I was growing up, I might have actually given a shit about science and tech, but instead, I rant and rave on a blog. I’m so excited for this next generation of black girls to actually see people who look like them doing amazing things, not just being broken housewives and slaves like I was presented with growing up.
I believe most all cultures have some form of “respect your elders” to some extent. I think POC cultures tend to cling to it much more due to a lot of our history and culture had to survive by verbal retellings. I really loved how Black Panthers showed honoring tradition and created a two-way line of respect between elders and the younger generation. Today we are dealing with a lot of “millennial” this and that, and this attitude that being old means you’re right or better when that isn’t the reality. You just old sis. While I respect what our elders have to offer, we often don’t get that respect back. In this film, the young people, represented by T’Challa, Okoye, Shuri etc are allowed to thrive and create their own lane, but they also value the voices of their elders. The council that takes place to make decisions, is a generous mix of both voices. The voices of our elders who’ve been around and seen the shit that happens, and the young people, who are looking for ways to improve upon what we have.
Man, there’s so much more I can talk about, but I’ll leave it there for today. If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, first of all, what is wrong if you? Please go see it. Black, white or otherwise this is just a fantastic film and lessons for all y’all. Be bless, stay black and #WakandaForever
SINCE YOU’RE HERE…
I don’t like to create paywalls or subscriptions as I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. Obviously, you are under no obligation to give, I know many are out here struggling just like me, but if you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated.
Contributions can also be sent via Venmo, Cash App or Paypal.