Marvel's Black Panther, the movie
Ok, I have been excitedly waiting to write this blog for 2 weeks. I was waiting for one reason and one reason alone - to read this headlight in entertainment news.
That’s right. $1 BILLION DOLLARS AT GLOBAL BOX OFFICE!! It wasn’t even a whole year ago when that “article” came out quoting a Hollywood executive producer saying an African-American superhero movie will never be a top blockbuster. Welp, it is safe to send him a few “I Told You So” emoji’s which will only consist of showing him the middle finger a few times. $1 Billion dollars, y’all. ONE FREAKING BILLION DOLLARS!! And has it been a month yet? NOPE!! It’s THE best selling Marvel movie EVER. Like…ever!! We all can agree that certain people were banking on this film to be good, but not great. They were NOT expecting the movie sales to be astronomical. You got to admit it. They weren’t. And it was a “we did it” thing. I mean, we DID do it. BUT we didn’t do it only by ourselves. There was all walks of life in every movie theater across the country, even across the world. All shades of humanity in awe of this masterpiece. I loved it. I went to see it TWICE actually. I’m not going to talk about the 1st time I went, but it was necessary for me to go a 2nd time so that I got to see and hear EVERYTHING for myself. I think I need to go see it for a 3rd time. I might take my son next time just for the fun of it. I want to take a pic of his face watching Black Panther on the big screen. Plus, I enjoy the Alamo Theater in Brooklyn. That’s my go-to movie theater from now on. Although as nice as that theater is, you would think they would have full-size posters up of featured movies for people to take pics with like they have at Magic Johnson theaters. The Alamo has the space, don’t know why it wasn’t arranged. But anyway, I didn’t go to the theater for the poster, I went for the movie.
And what a movie it is. Boy, oh boy, I loved it. Every frame. Every second. Every word. Every cast. I loved everything about it. Black Panther has started a movement that will never go away. I don’t remember a movie making this type of impact since the Lion King (another Disney movie that takes place in Africa – MESSAGE!). Every theater had people arriving in African attire. Bus trips, MeetUp groups, 1st time dates, double dates, group dates, anniversary dates, all across the globe, theaters were sold out for weeks to see this movie. I loved it. I’m so proud of it and I wasn’t even in it or worked on it. But I am so proud of it as though I did. At first, I was worried if the story will shy away from heavy topics and expected stereotypes, but it was so honest and beautiful. OH my goodness, it was so beautiful. Ryan Coogler (the director, writer and producer of the movie) did a phenomenal job with his 1st superhero movie. Although Killmonger was from Harlem in the comics, Ryan made Killmonger be from his hometown, Oakland, CA. If you don’t know what’s Coogler’s film signature, that’s it. He makes sure a main character is from Oakland. Pay attention to his previous movies Fruitvale Station and Creed (both with Michael B. Jordan). I don’t blame him either. One main character in all of my scripts are from Brooklyn as well. Hell, I would’ve made Wonderwoman from Flatbush, Brooklyn, if it was up to me. But we’re talking about Ryan. When Ryan and Michael B. Jordan work together, it’s magic. Pure magic. Adding Chadman Boseman, Lupita, Daniel Kaluuya, legends Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett in the mix, you end up with a billion dollar masterpiece. Ryan and his crew have a billion reasons to be so proud.
So, let’s talk about the amazing cast. Chadwick Boseman, goodness gracious. If that man can’t act his ass off, I think he’s gonna replace Denzel for the crown for real, for real. He is so awesome in EVERY damn role I’ve seen him in: 42 as Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, Message From The King (on Netflix) and now Black Panther. Can he do wrong in ANYTHING??? I don’t think so.
Then we have the beautiful and extremely talented ladies , Lupita Nyong’o as Princess Nakia, Danai Gurira as General Okoye (my fav), Letitia Wright as Shuri who is Guyanese, by the way. #GuyaneseGirlsRock. And the queen of the big screen, Angela Bassett.
Angela Bassett was so stunning!! Sidenote: why do we always call Angela Bassett by her real name regardless of what character she plays. I catch myself doing that all the time. “I loved T’Challa, Shuri, the General Okoye , Nakia and Angela Bassett.” Like…really. She DID have a character name – Queen Ramonda aka “Auntie”. I KNOW I’m not the only one who does it either. But it’s because she’s so awesome, we see her essence in every character that she plays, we can’t help it. She understands it’s all love, I’m sure.
And the rest of the fellahs, Winston Duke as M’Baku (Is he single tho?), Daniel Kaluuya as W’kabi (another crown contender. I think he should’ve gotten the Oscar for Get Out but that’s another post), Forest Whitaker as Zuri, Martin Freeman as the CIA guy. Remember him from The Hobbit? He was making the same facial movements as he did in the Hobbit too. I can imagine he was glad to be reunited with his Lord of the Rings colleague, Andy Serkis as Klaue. Andy played Gollum in the Lords of the Rings movies and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes movies. Homeboy was mad crazy in Black Panther tho. I loved it! Am I sounding geeky yet?
And then we have Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger. *deep sigh* This boy. This character made my heart ache. Killmonger represents everything we try to avoid within ourselves but it’s there, no matter what.
Every black person who loves their culture has a little bit of Killmonger in them. The problem is, some have more than others. Some don’t know how to deal with the feelings and emotions of Killmonger. Some ignore and/or suppress them. Some submit to the anger and become part of the problem, not the solution. I know I have a Killmonger in me because every time I hear about ANOTHER careless murder of a black man or boy by the hands of ANOTHER police officer, it triggers the Killmonger in me. There’s no amount of compensation that can measure up to the 400 years of hell and as much as we have accomplished to date, we STILL have a long way to go because of the internal struggles we have to overcome within ourselves, within our own communities. That’s why Killmonger was so important in this story. Some people would think it was about black versus black. A Cain versus Able type of story. But it wasn’t. It was more about accountability. Well, that’s how I saw it. Killmonger wasn’t born to be Killmonger, he was created like T’Challa said to his forefathers. When you have kids growing up with no positive role model in their lives due to parents being imprisoned, absent or just dead, who do they turn to for guidance. To learn how to be a survivor. For some, learn how to be a man?
Unfortunately, a lot turn to the hardness of the streets. Others turn to books or outside of their race. But to the ones who turn to the streets, a few of those become self-destructive and unreachable. They know what they think they know and only go by what they see in front of them. Every decision is a “I’m gonna get mine no matter what” way of thinking.
They don’t think of others who are affected by their actions because they are only focused about achieving their own objective. When Killmonger’s agenda was revealed is when the heartache started for me. He was so absorbed with anger and revenge, he wasn’t realizing he was single-handedly destroying his own people and what they have accomplished so far. He had a point about Wakanda turning a blind eye to the rest of the world’s chaos, but that does not excuse his choice of actions AGAINST Wakanda.
He wanted to kill T’Challa and become king. He killed T’Challa (so he thought) and he became king. Next, he wanted to make sure he remained King, so he destroyed his people’s legacy (so he thought). As king, he wanted to use Wakanda as a weapon against the world instead of aide FOR the world. That’s where he went wrong in my eyes for the 3rd time. Killmonger anger towards everyone around him represents how important it is to teach our sons how to love themselves first. How important it is to teach them how important they are. The line that made my heart ache is when he said, “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships. Because they knew death was better than bondage.” I know that made white folks mad uncomfortable in those theatre seats. They were probably thinking, “This is suppose to be a superhero movie. Superman would have NEVER said that!!” Let me move on because I’m starting to get emotional but I can go on about Killmonger for days. *wiping away a teardrop*
This movie meant so much to so many people. Not just black kids, but to all kids. When you have racist and chauvinistic executives who want to believe and promote the image that black people can not be viewed as heroes and role models, it’s harder for any black parent when you’re raising your black son or daughter to believe he/she can be a Superman or a Captain America or even a President of the United States without an actual visual. Black Panther provides an actual visual of what black excellence looks like to the ENTIRE world…next to Barack Obama.
I hope you took the time to go see Black Panther and enjoy it as I have. If you haven’t, make the time to go see it. Go be reminded of why you are beautiful and unique in the black skin that you live in each and every day.