By: Micaela Shambee– Editor, The Drive
Note: There are minor spoilers in this review, but considering the movie reached over 1 billion across the globe, I’m sure you won’t mind.
Imagine a country run by cutting-edge technology. Home to strong, precious metals that you cannot find anywhere. A place where Blacks are celebrated, seen, and are rulers, not ruled. A beautiful, egalitarian society, where women proudly wear their natural hair, are tech geniuses, and warriors. A negro Utopia.
Black people (around the world) have never seen Black Culture portrayed and celebrated like this.
Being an African American women myself, watching the film was like being transported to the country of my ancestral dreams. It was stated in the film, “Wakanda has Vibranium, one of the strongest metals in the world,” and I was filled with pride and wonder. It was as if I was discovering the motherland and its riches for the first time. I thought to myself, Black people (around the world) have never seen Black Culture portrayed and celebrated like this.
However, after further introspection, an interesting realization emerged about the relationship between Africans and African Americans.
It is no secret that Africans and African Americans have a complicated relationship here in the U.S. Immediately upon hearing that Vibranium existed in Wakanda, most African Americans I spoke with about the movie immediately questioned why “Wakandians” would hoard and hide something that could help not only the entire continent of Africa, but could help liberate African Americans across the Atlantic
We could not even fathom a “Wakanda.” However, it is important to note that Africans maybe cannot fathom a “Wakanda” either.
One could not help but identify with Killmonger, the US military trained cousin of Black panther, who assails to the throne to avenge his father’s death. Killmonger’s story is all African Americans story: our ancestors were the slaves brought to America in bondage. We can not even fathom a “Wakanda.”
However, it is important to note that Africans maybe cannot fathom a “Wakanda” either.
African countries have been war torn, ravished, and characterized by their former colonizers’ tyranny, just as African Americans were stripped of that same culture and identity. It makes no sense to compare and contrast our struggles as they are inherently tied to one another.
Hopefully, this film will be used as a tool for unity among Black and Brown peoples. The image of Wakanda should be an inspiration for the future country of magical Negros of our own making.
Did Black Panther live up to its hype? Did you feel the deep divide between Africans and African Americans in the film? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!
Stay informed, open-minded, and driven.