9 things that crossed my mind as a black, non-marvel fan watching 'black panther'
i saw black panther three times this past weekend. once on thursday, once on friday, and once on saturday – each time was completely unique in itself because i kept taking something different from the movie after each viewing. since then, i’ve skimmed and read hella articles, movie references, reviews and blogs – some of which i’ve agreed with, others not so much. and although i've never been a marvel fan, and still wouldn’t consider myself a marvel fan now, i still thoroughly enjoyed this move because the perspective from which it was told was something i identified with. to that regard, what i've listed here is merely a tangible representation of the things that crossed my mind as i watched the film. nothing extra deep. nothing hella analytical. just my real thoughts, in no particular order.
9). representation feels good.
this was basically the first marvel film I’ve watched from start to finish. any other marvel film before black panther was half-watched on the weekend at my house as i cleaned up, did homework and whatever else that needed to be crossed off my to-do list at that time. but when I saw the trailer for black panther drop last year, i remember thinking to myself, “i’ve got to see this film.” it wasn’t because i was huge marvel fan, because I’m not. it wasn't because I knew anything about black panther, because i didn’t. it’s because it felt good to see a whole lot of black excellence depicted positively on the big screen. and even with me having virtually no background knowledge of the comic, i still nevertheless related to the experiences of the characters, particularly that of the black male characters. i understood their motives. i felt their pain. why? because everything about this film resonated with me. the unwavering feeling of connectedness was something i'd experienced before with a movie, but it had been a while since i felt that way – and i appreciated the fact that the film was able to evoke that type of feeling.
8). secrecy in the black family – it’s gotta stop.
secrecy is arguably one of the foundations of today’s black family. we don’t like telling anybody, anything. everything we go through is “our business” and we don’t want anyone discussing our business, even though we discuss everyone else’s business – but I’m schleep. i won’t lie to you, when i found out t’chaka killed his brother, abandoned his nephew and lied about it, i was fake blew. and when t’challa confronted him about it and his justification was “it was the truth i chose to omit”, i really felt that. it got me to thinking about how many of us didn’t grow up with a lot of our cousins because our parents were siblings who didn’t know each other -- and how a lot of us go through majority of our lives not knowing our own siblings. all because of those who came before us making a “choice” to “omit the truth.” and as t’challa showed during that particular scene, that’s a tough thing to deal with. we’ve missed out on so much deliverance and breakthrough because we can’t seem to put our pride aside and have honest, yet sometimes uncomfortable, conversations with each other. i mean, how can i avoid making the same mistakes as those that came before me when nobody wants to be real about the mistakes they’ve made? it creates an unhealthy cycle, which brings me to my next point…
7). history often repeats itself in the black family.
we blame a lot of stuff on generational curses when sometimes it’s simply us not wanting to be accountable for our own actions, if I’m gonna be honest. but If we aren’t careful, we will find ourselves outchea repeating the history of those that came before us. and i don’t know if ya’ll peeped this but i definitely did: t’chaka and n’jobu were brothers. their sons, t’challa and killmonger, were cousins. t’Chaka killed n'jobu. t’challa killed killmonger. coincidence? barely. the correlation in itself made me think about how regardless of whether it’s good or bad, we inherit things from our parents. and rather than confronting those things and enacting some sort of change, we pacify them by saying things like, “you’re just like your father” or “she gets that from her mother.” saying stuff like that ain’t the answer though. you better wake up and pay attention to the traits threatening to tear your family apart or else you'll contribute to your extinction, forreal.
6). I love us, forreal.
i think my favorite scene was when t’challa was getting “blessed in” as the new king and all of the different tribes were standing on the mountain singing and dancing in celebration. it reminded me of how beautiful, diverse and talented we are as a people. when we all come together, it’s a beautiful thing. and i won’t lie, seeing all of us come together like that made me think of swag surfin’, and i can’t say that i’m mad at that.
5). black mamas really don’t be playing about their sons, even if it blinds them.
when t’challa was fake killed by killmonger, i was b-l-e-w. but as the movie went on, i realized killmonger actually wasn’t horrible – he was just hurt. and when t’challa died or whatever, i peeped how his mother, ramonda (or is it queen mother? are they the same? i’m asking for myself) was really going around implying that her son was wrongfully dethroned and murdered by killmonger. i remember feeling bad about his death but also thinking to myself, “sis he lost the fight. that’s yall ritual. you knew this was a possibility.” and as i continued to watch the movie, i realized how ramonda’s devout love for her son blinded her from seeing (and accepting) the truth, which seems to be a trend amongst black women and their sons.
4). black women stay looking out.
the loyalty. the resistance. the strength. the love. the wit. the beauty. the instinct. they’re unparalleled. period.
3). we gotta stop only interacting with people when it’s convenient for us.
when t’challa asked m’baku if he could use his army to fight killmonger and he told him no, i can’t say i disagreed with him – especially when m’baku mentioned that t’challa was the first king to come to the mountains. it got me to thinking about all the people who only hit me up when they need something. not only is that hella annoying, but people pick up on that type of stuff as well. they may not always say it to your face, but they notice, trust me. and If we’d learn how to maintain relationships personally and professionally, i feel like we’d really be much better off. you can’t go through life disregarding those you feel like can do nothing for you, because you never know how the tables may turn.
2). The crab barrel is alive and thriving among us.
to my understanding, kilmonger shared his father’s belief that wakanda basically needed to help more of our people escape oppression and thrive. he felt like t’challa and ‘nem was being real bogus for not equipping our people with the tools necessary to live their best lives like they were doing in wakanda and what not. i get that – and to a certain extent, i agreed with killmonger in his assertion that wakanda could have been doing more. this realization actually made me think of past instances in which [black] people have chosen not to help me and in some cases, were intentionally trying to snake me and keep me down. it also made me think about the numerous opportunities i’ve had to help another [black] person – some of which i’ve helped and some of which i’ve chosen not to help. needless to say, i do feel like a lot of [black] people simply aren’t doing enough for our own. it’s apparent that a lot of us (not all of us) want to see people doing good, we just don’t want to see them doing better than us. and that low key makes us crabs in a barrel.
1). our selfish tendencies prevent us from finding (and sustaining) meaningful relationships.
i’m not sure if i am the only one, but i was caught off guard when killmonger straight up killed everyone on his “team” before flying to wakanda. what surprised me the most though, was that he seemed to have no problem killing the girl he was involved with. i remember thinking, “wow. this is why people have trust issues. this is why prenuptial agreements exist,” because people change every day, b. and maybe that’s why a lot of us are regrettably single – because whenever we do get someone to open up to, we self-sabotage and do something that ultimately results in us being alone again. just saying.