Just like every other warm-blooded black millennial on social media, I too am in awe of Black Panther.
Before I went to go see it at my local movie theater, I was a bit skeptical. The hype was getting to be overwhelming, and I’m a certified skeptic at heart. I’ve never been a superhero kind of girl. Even as Marvel Studios began to dominate the late 2000s into the early 2010s, I never found myself enraptured enough to watch many of the movies on my own time. I think I’ve seen like…four? Three maybe? All I know is that one of them’s Deadpool.
But, what I am for, is positive representation.
Black movies have been polarizing for me over the years. The only choices I really had, were to watch historical films of black people getting tore down as slaves, or Tyler Perry-esque movies filled with foolishness and a term coined by someone off the internet that I can’t remember at this moment, “african american horror stories.”
It was rare that I saw black people living without an asterisk. The negative connotations felt like weights on my shoulders that I couldn’t get away from.
It was things like seeing Brandy’s interpretation of Cinderella in 1997 or seeing Susie take on Angelica in the Rugrats that made me feel more human. In these worlds, these black people existed as whole humans. They had likes and dislikes that lived far beyond the stereotypes that other black characters would often fall into.
But black movies, still, were few and far between. As a child, I couldn’t get into it.
Black Panther is one of the first movies in a while that puts forth such a positive representation of black people on the world’s stage. No longer are we the slaves. No longer are we the servers. No longer are we the “sassy best friend” or the “comic relief.” In Black Panther, we are kings and queens. We are warriors. We are geniuses. And, we can still be black as well.
The duality of being black, and also a whole human, is extremely exemplified within Black Panther. T’Challa isn’t just an African king. He’s a man who is struggling with the sudden influx of power and learning how to utilize that space in order to be the best leader he can be. Okoye isn’t just a warrior. She’s a woman is conflicted with choice of serving her country or helping her family and friends.
Black Panther is filled with characters who live without asterisks, and not only that but captivate the space that they’re in.
At 22, I’ve never seen women that looked like me be as powerful as the Dora Milaje. I can only imagine how just that image alone certainly is going to inspire and motivate little black girls throughout the world.
I would have loved that as a kid.
I’m proud to say that I live in a nation where this is possible. To me, America’s never been greater than it is right now. As a black woman, I can watch a movie of people that look like me and feel amazing from start to finish. I felt like I existed. I felt like I was exploring a different part of myself. I felt okay to be myself. That really doesn’t happen much.
The past couple years have been amazing for black media, and I hope and pray that this is just the beginning. I need more stuff to show my hypothetical children when they get older anyway.
Have you seen Black Panther? How did you feel about it? Was it awesome….or was it spectacular? (LOL) But really, let me know what y’all think in the comment’s section below.