I don’t usually review movies but this one is different for me. After watching Black Panther, one can’t help but feel a sense of pride and joy throughout the melanin community. While we watch some bicker about the amount of money we have poured into one film, I think about buying another one just for the fun of it. To see such a demonstration of powerful women as an Army on film for my generation is empowering. The message is deeper subliminally. These are my take away points from my second viewing so far. I am sure I will have more with each subsequent viewing of this film. The whole team of actors, writers, musicians, the crew, etc were amazing in how they chose to address issues that Africans and African Americans deal with.
First, African and African Americans have much more in common than what the media portrays. We are each ignorant of some of the practices among the groups, tribes, countries and so forth. However, it would be ignorant not to acknowledge that almost every African American has some African background should they choose to honor their roots and learn about them. While some African Americans willing forgo the journey to self discovery due to being born on American soil, others embrace the journey of learning about their ancestors and DNA or heritage. They create safe spaces for African Americans to connect with our African brothers and sisters, to learn about African spirituality, hoodoo, rootwork, etc. Yes, there are silly questions that some African Americans ask of Africans because of the lack of knowledge about what life on the continent is actually like. Does that make us ignorant for wanting to know more when American media only portrays the poorest areas on the continent? Through Netflix and Google we are able to see real life footage or learn about what life is like for those of us lucky enough with that access. Just because we are born in America, doesn’t mean we will have readily available access to learn about the continent and vice versa to those on the continent about us. It’s great that a film, no matter how westernized, that we can connect to certain aspects of the culture of African communities to help bridge the gap between Africans and African Americans. Sure, a film shouldn’t do that when people can just pick up a book or do research but who cares? Instead of putting people down for wanting to see the film, continue the education of life in America or life in the various countries on the continent or life anywhere there are African people of the diaspora. Continue to seek ways to educate and help bridge the gap or connect with each other. I for one would love to connect with companies to provide services for my businesses. It’s a work in progress.
Second, it was great that a man wrote this film and saw it through. It has a powerful underlying message for me that women make things happen when we grow together. Women are powerful, especially black women. We’ve been at the bottom of the totem pole and have carried the weight of many upon our backs. In reality, we are warriors in my eyes. When we learn something, we don’t just seek to educate ourselves but our mate, children and our community when allowed. When our voices aren’t silenced, we are the warriors within our community. To learn that the all woman military was based on an actual all female military was even more mind blowing. It is totally badass for someone seeking to portray women in stronger perspectives than the ghetto, loud and ratchet bs we are usually fed on major films. As a writer, it was amazing to know that this could be done and done well. Yes, it has already been done in other genres of film. For my generation, this film does something inside all of us to see Black women portrayed this way. When we speak about the power of black women, their voices are often overlooked and overshadowed by those who would want to speak about all women. This space wasn’t about all women. In the film it was about the black women not only having the king’s back but having each other. The synchronicity of the battle scenes and ability to stand by each other is important when it is often portrayed that black women are against each other. The light skinned vs dark skinned argument leaking out continuously from the Willie Lynch methods is portrayed and played upon in film and media. It was great to see black women of all shades come together in harmony to stand with each other. It was poetic in a sense of black women backing the black man, regardless of what side he was on. A black woman (Shuri) was leading the STEM program, although fiction, it has the ability to empower so many young black girls who watch this to believe in themselves. Black women will always carry the weight of the black community on their backs but some also seek to be inclusive of every cause to care for others. It’s a part of what makes them powerful warriors. It’s not against humanity to want to heal your community first. It’s also not against humanity to want to heal other communities as you continue to build yours.
I’d like to remind everyone complaining about where people are spending their money that, yes the community came together for this film but they can and many are also already doing it in their communities. If you can’t see the importance of this film across the world for melanin people, you are probably apart of the issue in building up the community when you seek to destroy positive representations for the community. My question is why can’t we do both? Why can’t we support this film and build in our communities? Why does it always have to be either or? I believe we can do both. Just take a look around at all of these initiatives.
The views in this post are my own and will keep building once I watch the film once more. I will finally be reviewing the books that have guided me on the spiritual journey soon also.
Peace & Love