There’s SO much to be said about this movie and I definitely felt it on a deeper level. The acting, graphics, outfits and everything in general was great, but it’s the subliminal lessons that are hidden within that made the movie exactly what it is. I know there’s a lot of topics to talk about but I’m only going to be touching on the top three that caught my attention.
1. Love Is More Powerful Than Pride
The movie probably wasn’t ten minutes in and I was already captivated by the admiration T’Challa had for Nakia. It’s rare to see a man of his affluence openly showing affection to someone who had previously broken things off with him. The way he gazed at her with admiration warmed my heart and made me lift my eyes to God in hopes that one day my future husband will look at me the same way. But as if their complicated relationship wasn’t beautiful enough, we fast forward to the last few scenes with Okoye and W’Kabi.
In a culture where women are taught that getting a husband is the best thing that will ever happen to them, seeing a woman clearly in love, boldly push aside the man of her dreams in order to fight for what she believed in encouraged me to take pride in being an alpha female. It made me feel as if that it is ok to be something different from what society expects you to be. But it’s what W’Kabi did next in response to her stance that really had me standing up in the movie theatre.
Never in anybody’s culture do we see a male warrior submit to the demands of a female warrior, whether they are lovers or not. Especially not in the African diaspora. Not only did W’Kabi drop his weapon, but he got down on one knee as a sign of submission. And in that instance, the war stopped. The whole entire war stopped. The mutiny was over. That scene alone clearly displays the kind of influence one man can carry. But as I continued to think about it, I was faced with the reality of how detrimental pride can truly be if allowed to prevail. Not only does pride destroy us internally, but it has the ability to impact our surroundings. If W’Kabi had continued to wage war on his own country, not only would he had lost a phenomenal woman, he would have had to watch his home go up in flames.
Thankfully, he did what most people fail to do… cut their losses. Sometimes we as human beings need the ability to be able to recognize when enough is enough. The last scene also showed me how beautiful humility can be. Sometimes people have the tendency to mistake humility for weakness, but it’s in our choice to not fight back, though we are able to, that real strength is shown.
2. Be Proactive and Not Reactive
The possibility that true love can prevail was not the only thing that stood out to me. Through the mess that Killmonger was in the process of creating, I realized that it’s not enough to have good intentions, in fact, we should pay special attention to how we carry out our intentions. It is honorable to want to strengthen and uplift the oppressed, but it is not ok to put weapons of mass destruction in the hands of people who seek vengeance. It is honorable to want to keep your civilization away from harm and destruction, but not if lives are being lost and spirits of your brothers and sisters are being broken. Both Killmonger and T’Challa’s fathers had ambitions that were not necessarily focused on themselves, but it’s how they decided to pursue them that threatened the overall success of their efforts.
I also got a deeper sense of how severe the tension between African-Americans and Africans really is. It is true that some Africans do not see African-Americans as their long-lost brothers and vice versa, but that is simply because they were never really taught to do so. African-Americans do not see how rich and prevalent the African culture is and Africans fail to see the effects of institutional slavery and former unhealed wounds on our normal day-to-day lives. More communication clearly needs to be had among both parties, but overall, the people of the African diaspora should not see themselves as separate entities, but instead should see themselves as one. We all have the similar struggles and should not use our ethnic differences to separate ourselves from each other.
3. Black Excellence Is Real
Lastly and most importantly, I saw the true meaning of black excellence. We were given a taste of the true talent that lies behind the African-American community. As if we haven’t before right? But with the glorification of characters like Madea or the TSI agent from the movie “Get Out”, Hollywood can sometimes paint black actors as the butt of all jokes. We are given roles that are sometimes demeaning and sometimes over exaggerated, but that wasn’t the case in this movie. From the passion in T’Challa’s eyes and the kindness in his heart to the way Lupita showed her strength by being gentle and loving… I finally realized the extent that these actors and actresses probably went to in order to nail their role. Through the grace of God, this all black cast thrived in an arena that was not their own and looked so good doing it!! We don’t see too much African-American superheroes these days, but I’m so beyond thankful that the one we do have is the fearless and empowering Black Panther. The Protagonist that decided to see life beyond previous traditions in hopes of pursuing a more philanthropic future.
Marvel must have known exactly what they were doing when they gave Ryan Coogler the budget that would be used to create magic. As if Shonda Rhimes wasn’t already showing the world that African-American actors are just as good as Caucasian actors, Ryan Coogler most certainly did. For the first time in a long time, the Black actors were not the comic relief and I for one can say that I am pleased. I hope that the movie Black Panther will teach little minority boys and girls that they do not have to fit the mold that was not even created for them but instead, can create one of their own.