- It is more than “just a movie.” Think of any movie that you have ever seen that had Black people in it. What role did that Black actor or actress play? They were either the best friend to the hero/heroine who was white, or the drug dealer. If it was a horror movie, they were dead within the first ten minutes. With Marvel’s Black Panther, it will give Black kids the chance to see that they are being depicted as kings and queens, not the so-called thugs that news outlets label them as.
- An all-Black cast. A movie where there are Black superheroes? SIGN ME UP! With a lineup ranging from the legendary Angela Bassett (American Horror Story, What’s Love Got to Do With It) and Forrest Whitaker (The Great Debaters, The Butler) to Lupita N’yongo (12 Years a Slave, Queen of Katwe) and Chadwick Bosman (42, Get On Up: the James Brown Story), it is the representation that Black people have been asking for and we finally got it. This movie comes out at the right time and in the right moment because it gives Black people—men, women and children—the chance to see themselves in a way that they have rarely been seen as before: as superheroes.
- Two words: Natural. Hair. There is not one movie that I can think of where a Black character embraces her natural hair; it is either straightened or in a wig. The women of Wakanda embraced everything about themselves including the versatility of their hair. From Bantu knots to box braids, the only thing that was not touched was a hot comb.
- White people are NOT the hero. A Black man is the hero this time around. They are not sitting in the background letting the white man save everyone; no. What Black Panther will bring to Hollywood is showing that this is not just some movie that will be hyped up for a couple of months and then fade to the background. Black Panther gives young Black boys the hope and the joy that they so rightfully deserve. They do not have to worry about being stereotyped as a thug or being told to just sit down and shut up; they get to see someone who looks just like them be the hero in a movie that is on track to be in the top 3 Marvel movies.
- Representation Matters. My first time seeing a Black character as the heroine in a movie was Disney’s Princess and the Frog. I was 12 years old and any time I watch the movie now, knowing that Tiana was the first Black princess Disney had ever had was kind of a big moment for me. I think that what Black Panther represents for Black children is that there was a moment in time when Black people were kings and queens; they don’t teach that in history class. This movie will show firsthand what life was like as a King, Queen or Princess of Africa. This is the moment that we have been waiting for, and the moment has finally come.
- Shuri is technically a Disney princess. Disney owns Marvel, which makes T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, a Disney Princess. Halloween might be 8 months away, but there is not a doubt in mind that there will be some little girls dressing up like Shuri. Eat your heart out, Katniss Everdeen.
- The numbers do not lie. Screenings alone brought in $25.2 million, and brought in an estimated $201.8 million during the three-day weekend. This is the fifth biggest box office opening of ALL TIME; not bad for a comic book character who made his debut in 1966.
- Have I mentioned this cast already? Well, I’m going to mention them again. I mean, Black superheroes on the big screen. What more could you want? The range of melanin that this cast has plus the star power AND it’s actually worth the hype? Give this movie all of the awards and I mean all of them!
- It is DEFINITELY worth the hype. With a comic book fan following already, it is obvious that comic book lovers—specifically, Marvel universe fans—were going to love this movie anyway. But when that first trailer aired in the summer of 2017, all eyes were on this movie. It was clear that nothing else mattered. To have a star like Chadwick Bosman (who has played every famous Black man in history from Jackie Robinson to James Brown) in the lead role, the world had their eyes on this movie. Most movies are hyped up for a while, you go see the movie in theaters and the movie winds up being terrible. That is not the case for this one. This movie deserves every penny that went into production, every accolade received, every award it will get. Anyone who has seen it or is going to see it, you are in for a treat.
- Do it for the culture. Black History Month 2018 has definitely been one to remember, but Black Panther coming out really put a stamp on BHM 2018 for being the most unforgettable. For some, this movie is simply just another movie in the Marvel universe and that is just fine. But for us as Black people, this is the chance to see Black people not as drug dealers, not as the help, not as the white hero’s best friend, and definitely not being saved by a white hero, either. This is the movie where we get to see Black people as the superhero. We saw it once in 2017’s Hidden Figures. I will admit that I thought we would never get to see that again, but as the great Solange Knowles says, “This is for us.” So take your kids, take your best friend, take your boyfriend or your girlfriend. Or, do yourself one better and go by yourself; just go see this movie. You will NOT regret it! WAKANDA FOREVER
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