Black Panther and Why it Matters

For the record, there will be spoilers. If you haven’t seen Black Panther, stop doing what you’re doing right now, buy tickets, and go see it.

I saw Black Panther last weekend and did a lot of thinking about it in the meantime and refresh my viewing on it just a few minutes ago and was hit just as strongly as I was the first time. The fact is, it is a complicated movie with a lot of different threads and themes; in addition, it’s one of the first Blockbusters that wasn’t just about black suffering. In the last year, there seemed to be more movies coming out with increasingly well-developed characters that rely less on the traditional ways black people show up in film. Most often we show up in movies that are about flavoring or suffering, being the first in something, overcoming difficulties, or for comedic effect. I can’t say that without the work of Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Get Out, Black Panther would have been quite as popular. For me it’s not so much that Black Panther is the first in any way, but instead it takes the work of all the years of black people and cinema and presents a first true example of what a movie based around black people in a blockbuster can look like.

I’m incredibly awed by this movie.

In part, it’s the way it handled some tricky Taboo topics within Black Culture, but also how it represented us in a very humanizing way that we don’t often get. I saw myself within the characters and even the fiction I saw the struggles of our culture against the beautiful backdrop of wakanda. I saw the confliction I feel Within Myself between Killmonger and Wakanda. I saw all the ways that black culture is unique clearly in this movie in a way I do not often get a chance to see. It brings up feelings of roots and Legacy and where we are going as a culture.

This movie brought up these questions and more, so I feel it’s only appropriate to break up my Black Panther thoughts into parts. At this point, I’m not sure how many parts there will be, but each part will have a important and significant theme. And so, I’m glad to share my feelings on Marvel’s Black Panther.

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