Black Panther has done an amazing job of sparking conversations across the globe. It took on the difficult task of displaying different accounts of different cultures in a cohesive, historically fiction, action-filled drama. It grossed $704 million in just 10 days, on a $200 million budget. I can only imagine how many reviews have been written on it, which is why this won’t be one.
I especially don’t want to spoil the movie for anybody. But it’s been 10 days, go watch it and join the conversation! Until then, consider this a case brief.
Disclosure, my perspective of this film is coming from a Nigerian-Born American Citizen whose opinion of the film is completely irrelevant, but can objectively analyze the case of both the protagonist and antagonist of the film and their represented backgrounds.
To give you a different perspective other than my own, but EXTREMELY similar, read this blog from my younger brother titled, “When I Found Out I Was Black”.
The movie is an amalgamation of both historical, and fictional accounts. The merging of the two makes it important to separate fact, from fiction, in order to show the impact of this movie in our day-to-day lives. Though the movie is fictional, the facts that are presented in its piece are the historical accounts of slavery and colonization, the rift between Africans and African-Americans, and the blood right to pursue one’s purpose, even if you’re initially rejected.
When does the preservation of cultural resources become more important than the protection of the diaspora?
Plessy v. Ferguson ruled that different races (cultures in this case) are legally obligated to use “separate but equal” facilities, and resources.
Brown v. Board of Education reversed the ruling above, making it unconstitutional and stating the doctrine of “separate but equal” had no place.
During the movie, we see many different accounts of the first ruling. In order to preserve the resources of Wakanda, they had to adopt the philosophy that they were separate from everyone else, INCLUDING others in Africa. We can see the dangers of this thinking, stemming from colonization, in the American justice system.
I strongly believe that his kind of thinking still exists today. Africans in America believe that they are separate from African-Americans, but in the grand scheme of things, equally Black. What is so corrosive about this kind of thinking, is that it creates a false level of security from the harshness of being Black in America. Shocking, being African does not exempt you from racism. Who would’ve thought?
In Wakanda v. Oakland, the ruling was that the people of Wakanda would set up shot and help to develop the people of Oakland. At this point, it became known that the preservation of culture was NOT more important than the protection of the diaspora, but still very important.
What was commendable, was all it took was for one person to come back. This is what I believe to be the biggest missing piece. How hard the antagonist worked, even if it was with the enemy, to meet face to face with his people. So many people desire to go back, but have no way to, or don’t feel they’ll be accepted.
Which is why it’s incredible that this created a global invite, which I hope will begin two-way trips.
In a few weeks, I’ll probably dive deeper into this topic, and probably go see the movie again. I asked an African-American man this morning here on the streets of San Francisco (kinda Oakland?), what could Africans do to help.
He told me, to come here and teach. It doesn’t help to be the most educated, if you’re not educating. He also said that what he thinks to be difficult, is that some people won’t be willing to learn. But the ones that are, will be able to join the fight, so it’s worth trying.
At the same time, I think it’s important for African-Americans to go back and teach. There are incredible figures and a rich history that’s not being communicated across the ocean. Let’s build a bridge.