I needed a break from the news cycle this week. The constant news of police killings, racist attacks, and mass shootings is more than draining. For my own peace of mind, I needed an escape. I can’t physically get away right now, but I have many fantasy worlds I could choose from. Deep space, Ancient Egypt, and Nowhere are popular locales for me, but I needed to visit a happier place.
Wakanda does it for me.
The Marvel Studios’ film Black Panther is a visual masterpiece. The costumes, cast, and locations are visually stunning and I was again comforted by the fact that it is one of the better Marvel films. The casting was flawless and the story really came to life for me. In addition to this, rewatching Black Panther always reminds me that Black people have to excel in everything just to be seen as equals to white people in all situations. Wakanda is a highly idealized African nation that remained free of the colonizer’s clutches. As a result, it became one of the most technologically advanced in the world. It is a glimpse into what could have been.
These thoughts reminded me of something else I wrote just before the theatrical release of Black Panther in theaters. Hopefully, this flashback can give you some comfort in these trying times.
This article was originally written on February 2, 2018
This week on the internets, there were quite a few shenanigans. Most of which I just scroll past and keep it moving. However, I felt the need to address this one.
Someone on Instagram started a meme saying that black women were planning on boycotting the film, “Black Panther”. Foolishness, by itself but peep this reason.
This person said that Black women were boycotting the movie because Michael B. Jordan was dating a non-black woman.
What kind of nonsense…?
All this so-called boycott talk is total bull. Fake news, as the kids say.
First of all, nobody is worried about who this actor is romantically involved with in real life. All we are interested in is if he can be a good (and sexy) Erik Killmonger in this movie. Dassit.
Most of us have real problems to be concerned with. We don’t have the time or energy to devote to celebrity relationships. Our collective time has been reclaimed. Unless, he’s smashing you on the regular, it has nothing to do with you.
I, as a Black woman and a comic reader, will be seeing “Black Panther”. Opening weekend, if I can get tickets. Not only for the culture. I haven’t seen a Marvel movie since the first Iron Man. I’ve been reading the comics for years. Up until the writing at Marvel was making me roll my eyes and throw issues across rooms in anguish. Marvel had pissed me off for various reasons this one is Black Panther related.
Having T’challa (Black Panther) marry Ororo (Storm) was obviously a PR move. Character wise, she’d hated the guy forever. She thought he was an arrogant, womanizing asshole. And she wasn’t wrong. T’challa’s character was written to be just that over the years. Then, all of a sudden, 30 years of history is retconned and Ororo wants nothing more than to be his queen. Get the entire funk out of my face with that. Ororo deserves better than the way she’s been treated in the comics and especially in the movies. That, however, is a rant for another time.
I could care less about T’challa as a character and “Black Panther” is going to get my coins, along with the coins of many other Black women. One of the main reasons is the amount of beautiful, thriving, Black women being represented in this film. Queen Ramonda, Shuri, Okoye, and the Dora Milaje on the big screen in all their regal glory fills me with a happy glow in my heart. I can admit to never thinking such a thing would ever happen.
Black people have been hyped for this movie since news of it first dropped. After each trailer drops or promotional photo shoot, that hype gets stronger. People that have never read a comic in their lives are organizing viewing parties for Black Panther. It’s really something to see. Black people are collectively happy and excited about something. That’s where the problem truly lies, in my opinion. That is always where the backlash starts.
We aren’t allowed to be happy about shit. Toil and turmoil are all that is allowed in a negro’s life. The white supremacy machine sees to that. The Machine shows us all the time that this is the case. It tries to push the narrative that nobody wants to hear stories about triumphant Black people. Black happiness doesn’t sell unless it fits some unrealistic stereotype. Black pain is much more profitable and interesting; when they aren’t totally removed from the story in the first place.
Times are finally starting to change. Black people have been kept out of the limelight so long, we starting to tell our own stories and, irony of ironies, people are loving it. Stars like Issa Rae, Ava DuVernay, and Shonda Rhimes have been dominating their fields the past few years and pushing up more chairs for Black people at the Hollywood table. The Machine can’t stand it, but it also can’t argue with numbers. It can, however, try to undermine all this Black joy and success. How, you might ask?
By accusing Beyoncé of being anti-police.
By ignoring Lupita Nyong’o’s claims about Harvey Weinstein.
By trying to incite boycotts against the Blackest movie happing this year.
Black Panther will be one of the biggest grossing films of 2018. Period. I don’t think anyone is debating this but to imply that Black women aren’t going to be fueling this wave over some petty nonsense is dumb. Just admit you are mad about Black folks winning and go. We have opening night outfits to get together.