It is here! Black Panther is finally out and the culture gets to celebrate.
The anticipation for this film has been just as fun as watching it. Everyone was so excited to see Africa and it's diaspora represented in the light it deserves.
I won't bore you with a scene by scene review or anything like that, if you haven't seen the film, GO SEE IT!
What I will say is I now have a greater appreciation for the necessity of representation. Seeing all the different levels of melanin on the big screen is heartwarming! There was a moment, when I asked myself, "Did they make Lupita blacker?" But then I thought no, she's just lit properly. This whole movie was lit to make that melanin pop and I'm here for it. I was so happy to see so much color on the screen. It got me thinking: I'm very happy for kids who are able to experience this now.
They have a superhero that looks like them to look up to. When I was younger, I was Storm. She's the leader of the X-Men Gold team, can control the weather and is BLACK! Not just any black, but Africa black. That resonated with me as a child, perhaps not on any level I could consciously claim, but nonetheless, I see the effect it had on me. I was Storm because she looked most like me and that made me powerful but most importantly: visible. I could feasibly and visibly be her when playing with the other children. It's the same reason I'm cast as Scary Spice these days. I match the complexion! This is what we need. We need kids to understand that they can be Presidents, Superheroes, Geniuses, Moguls...any and all of it.
I'll get to visuals in a minute but this movie was audibly refreshing. I loved the fact that I had to read subtitles for the Xhosa language. It would've been disheartening to hear East Africans with English accents. Hollywood hands out an English accent of everything: movie about Ancient Greeks? English Accent. Romans? English Accent. Space? English Accents. Underwater? English Accents. NO! Have the Africans speak an African language. The audience will keep up, just as they've kept up for every other language and dialect in Hollywood.
Visually, this film blew me away. The colors, textures, textiles, wardrobes, body language, facial and vocal nuances were all so on point it stung my eyes. It eased an apprehension in my chest I was unknowingly holding on to. It was a beautiful feeling to exhale because cultures were being represented with love and care.
I can prattle on about this ALL DAY. Trust me! However, I will leave you with one of the more powerful themes for me:
The strength of women. The King would not be able to lead without the women he surrounded himself with.
The most powerful warriors in the country are female in this film. That was awesome, but something that made it even better was that fact that these bad-ass warriors were not stripped of their femininity. The General of the Dora Milaje is in a relationship with the Head of Security. I loved this little subplot because too often we get women who are super strong but shun love or they are weakened by/for their love. Okoye loved her man, but also loved her country and was very capable of doing both (until he lost his mind, you know what I'm talking about, that guy stays in the Sunken Place :))
Nakia was able to love her king but also a patriot to her country. She wasn't weakened because she had a heart, it in fact, made her even more dangerous and effective. Woman held all different types of positions within Wakanda and it added to the richness of this country. The women were strong, fierce, loving, funny, diligent, loyal, flirty, pretty, aggressive, cantankerous, rude, jovial, open, emotional, stoic. They were all of these things and it was portrayed in a way that made them whole human beings. They weren't just the girls in the back; they were the Queen, The General, The Spy, The Genius, The Guards, The Healers, The Mothers, The Women.
There were so many themes I could touch on, but I'm running late for my next screening of Black Panther! So let me know what you thought? What were some of the thematics gems you picked up?