From it’s debut on Friday, the ticket sales are steadily mounting up. At the time this was written, worldwide sales had already toppled $400 Million and will no doubt continue to rise. I’ve had many conversations before and after seeing the movie myself. And honestly, if I can be candid here, I hated it! I know, as a black man in America it was my duty to enjoy and relate to Black Panther, right? Probably just as much as it was my duty to NOT vote for Trump in the last election perhaps. Before this gets tense, let me tell you why I hated the film.
There is basically one reason and one reason only that made me hate the film. This reason is that when the truth is divulged, whether that be in books or on film, we are forced to deal with those truths. And we all know that, in reality, we hate the truth. We all tend to search for it or create our own, but the truth of the matter is that most of us, as cliché as it sounds, can’t handle the truth! And that is why I hated this movie. I hated the fact that it made me think and articulate my current surroundings in comparison with the characters on screen. The true essence of it all is that this movie, whether intended or not, forced me to reckon with the societal battles that have crept in the darkness of every corner of black existence! So, did I really hate the movie? Of course not. As many articles and reviews that have been written about the movie, the cast, the writers and producers, I figured my words would get lost somewhere between the east side of Detroit and Wakanda so I decided to raise a few eyebrows. Seriously speaking though, this was the first time I was able to connect with a super hero. As odd as it sounds, I can remember growing up and tying a pillow case around my neck and pretending to be Superman, but I never truly identified with him as a person. This movie allowed me to do that and so much more.
Art Imitates Life
There were so many correlations between fact and fiction within the movie that, like most others I’m certain, have or plan on seeing the movie a second time. I’ve read so many reviews and have had so many conversations about race relations, liberation, revolution and evolution that at times I almost feel as if I’ve gotten more out of the movie than intended. Perhaps it is our thirst for answers. Answers to the many questions that plague our hearts and minds. We have been somewhat trained, for lack of a better word, to assimilate and “get along” for such a long time that our yearning for understanding where we come from and what we are truly capable of is inspired and encouraged by the movie and its characters. Sadly, so much of our history has been lost. Not lost in reality but lost purposely by those who fight everyday to stay in power. Indeed, there is nothing more strangling than a noose of ignorance to choke the very life out of you. Ignorance not by choice, yet by design. Especially knowing what power exists within. That is the feeling that I got while watching the film and undoubtedly there are others who share this sentiment as ticket sales continue to increase day by day. The feeling of a real connection.
Connect The Dots
Now, admittedly, as dope as King T’Chaka was, I identified most with Killmonger. I think the reasoning behind this is our current state of existence. We identify with him, at least I do, because our anger of being treated as lower class is compounded by knowing that we are much greater people than we are lead to believe. The stress and anguish of carrying that around day by day can produce the characteristics of Killmonger. The disheartening aspect of his rage though, is that it allowed him to scoff at no casualty that may have otherwise thwarted his mission, including the women in his path. Was Killmonger set to be a revolutionary or a dictator? I think there is a very thin line between the two. This thin line makes it all the more unclear when talking about foreign dictators who America pronounces to be terrorists, while people in those places treat them as kings. Let’s not forget that while Killmonger was met with resistance, there were quite a few that believed in him as well as his way of thinking. That is the divisive strategy that perhaps made the Transatlantic Slave Trade a success. Perhaps the divisive strategy that keeps us clamoring for position now. Our passion to be the King. The King of our people and the King of ourselves. Then again….it’s just a movie….right? Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE