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We are very close to the final yet most interesting things about Black Panther. So please stick with us!
The Portrayal of Africa as Its Own Superpower
From the get go, what people were really excited to see was Wakanda. Part of the reason Black Panther is appealing is because here’s this superhero, who is from a country that is more technologically advanced than any other. And that country is in Africa. The vibranium in Wakanda made it a vital place, and this tale is one we don’t see often. For real? Africa is more than tin huts and flies? Well shut my mouth wide open!
As an African myself, the irritation about how the continent is portrayed is always at the surface for me. When I arrived at the US at 9, I realized that the place I’m from was considered undeveloped and archaic. It was news to me!
Black Panther film showed Wakanda as a place of innovation so beyond others’ understanding that it seemed they defied physics with what they were making happen. The guy who is American couldn’t even fathom it, because if was beyond what he thought was possible. You should see how my head swelled. This is no Zamunda.
I think about how Black Panther film can change the way little African kids can see themselves. I remember coming to the US and my accent was different and my name was different and the food I ate was different and it “othered” me immediately. I was asked if I’d ever seen electricity, and if wore clothes, and it annoyed me to no end. But I learned how to talk like my classmates by listening to them and mimicking how they were speaking and by high school I had lost most of my accent.
Seeing this movie, the thing that hit me is that there’s a little nine years old African girl that’s going to come to the US, and she won’t feel like she has to change the way she talks as it makes her too different. There’s going to be a little seven years old African boy who says “Sure I can tell these kids what my name means since it’s no longer so strange that they’re going to make fun of it.” That’s powerful. That’s the kind of stuff that can change a generation because for a lot of us that came when we were younger, we spent half our time trying to hide who we were. I’m looking forward to the ripple effect that it has in kids and how it makes them change the way they think the world is possible.
On top of all this, Black Panther has the nerve to be funny. The two funniest people in the film? Princess Shuri and M’Baku.
I LOVE me some Princess Shuri, and how she’s basically the epitome of little sister who lives to annoy her older brother. At the same time, she’s this bawse ass techie you can’t ignore. She had the best lines of the film. From her roasting T’Challa’s new shoes “What are THOSE?!?” to letting the white man know he needs to announce himself better. “Don’t scare me like that, colonizer.” Shuri is the Disney Princess we all need. She’s self-assured, super smart and shady AF.
The other person who had me cracking up was M’Baku, leader of the Jabari men. From the first time we saw him, he was full of shenanigans.
But when I genuinely fell in love with him was when he interrupted a sweet, sappy moment by asking them infuriatingly “Are you done?” I SCREAMED! I was like “this is a correct pesin.” And then I realized he was clearly a Nigerian. The Jabari Tribe must be Nigerian. Why? “Are you done?” is classic Naija. Also, they’re rude AF, talk mad shit, and like to face their front in conflict. Plus, they can’t be on time for shit. They are not the ones who will show up as an event starts. M’Baku and his squad gon’ roll in when you start folding chairs, with their takeaway containers. I know my people when I see us.
Chei! M’Baku is a bombastic goat and I love him so much. When the white man spoke, and he hit him with the “One more word and I will feed you to my children. I’m kidding, we are vegetarians.” I cackled so loudly! That brings me to…
The Fringeness of Whiteness
This film centered Blackness in all ways, and made whiteness the foreigner. There’s Klaue, who is the epitome of white greed. They find out what we have, and they think they’re entitled to it so they steal it without consequence to them. That fuckass stole Vibranium, and then told Killmonger that the “savages” didn’t deserve it. THEY DIDN’T DESERVE WHAT WAS THEIRS? Die painfully and gruesomely. I was mad that he died with just a gunshot wound. I wanted his fingers and toes to be cut off on some Game of Thrones shit.
Agent Ross, the CIA dude who ended up in Wakanda. I love how he was treated like a nuisance the entire time. The only reason he even ended up there was because he did save Nakia’s life. Otherwise, they woulda left him to die. They surely ain’t save no one else in that gun shot. Even so, the Wakandas regarded him as a foreign object in their midst. They barked when he didn’t face his front (shoutout to M’Baku), called him a colonizer (hey Shuri), and locked him in offices so he can stay out their way (I see you, Nakia). Even though he helped prevent the weapons of Wakanda from leaving their borders, he needed strict instructions from Shuri to even do that.
I sho’ll was like “DON’T TRUST WHITEY” the entire time. I kept expecting him to escape to the US and tell all their secrets. He still might in part 2. I still don’t trust him.
It was so nice and new to my spirit to see this white man be treated like an annoyance. IT IS ABOUT TIME. It was like cold lemonade to my shady soul. This is the treatment WE earn in everything so it’s only right it happened here like this. Although he shot some planes down, he’s no hero. I think Black Panther film is clear about that.