Marvellous Night In Wakanda

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Last night, 13 March 2018, I finally took a trip to Wakanda via Ster-kinekor and I’m still shook. Wow. Guys. I never. To answer the most obvious question first, why did I take so long to go watch it? Well, the night I was originally meant to go, soon after the premiere screening, my baby wasn’t feeling well so I cancelled the movie date and tended to my motherly duties. However, the benefit of being one of the last people to go watch it means, I can talk about it without worrying I might spoil it for anyone. Well, here’s hoping you’ve all watched it already. If not, stop here. Go watch the film, then come back to read this. Before I dissect the film, shout out to Ster-kinekor for half-price Tuesdays (membership only), and the amazing cinemas overall! I hadn’t been to the movies in years for various reasons, but now, I feel like I might just become a regular again. It’s just nice to watch a great film in an awesome cinema. Kudos. I thought of dressing up for the occasion but all that hype has subsided now, and also this was a Tuesday night so a girl can’t be so extra after a long day at work.


[image source:  https://wallpapersite.com/wallpaper/black-panther]

Black Panther, 2018, a Marvel Studios film directed by Ryan Coogler had me feeling like I couldn’t resume life back in Johannesburg after experiencing Wakanda. I mean, who wants to resume the struggle when you can be living in up like the melanin queen or king you were born to be? Well, I suppose much like Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B Jordon (such a flame, oh sweet baby Jesus!), the rest of us wouldn’t be invited or welcomed… It’s awkward now, but we’ll get to that a bit later. When you think of the current state of the world, Wakanda has become every black boy and black girl’s dream, more or less. We are oppressed in various ways EVERY SINGLE DAY, have to fight the struggle of being alive when it seems like no one else really wants us around, second guessing so many situations like “was that racist or am I being sensitive?”, the never-ending land issue, and so on and so forth. Even though we live in Africa, the dynamics of the black existence even here often leave us feeling as if we don’t really have a place in this world due of the status quo and the dismal quality of life most of us live and are expected to be OK with. It’s tough. So imagining a place like Wakanda, seeing it on a big screen and in 3D, damn near touching it — it’s marvellous, a place were the anxiety of being black is nonexistent and you can be unapologetic about it without even thinking about it. It’s not a cause or a movement but a mere way of life. IMAGINE. I might not have a blue tat to show for it but sign me and my baby up, that’s were we want to live.

This might sound rude but F*** it — I don’t own a TV at home because actually life is expensive so that’s not priority at all, secondly, I don’t really see the need to invest in a device that is going to continue to try whitewash me and begin the process of trying to whitewash my daughter. Uhm. No thanks. But I say this with a pitch of salt because when I visit my mom or dad, who both have TVs, I see how the media world is changing, it’s like broadcasting companies have just realised black people exist hahaha wow imagine that, we are here! Now seeing people like us on TV is no longer such an anomaly. In fact, I expect it because I always find myself asking whoever’s in charge of the remote to put something with a lot of melanin on, I ain’t here for John Snow regardless of whatever the hype about him might be — but give me some Lawrence, give me Wes, throw in Mary Jane, and little bit of Olivia and I am all for it while smiling wide like my awkward black girl Issa. I’m good. I’m good. So for me, and I’m sure most people like me, seeing a cast with more black than white is one of the most refreshing and long overdue moves Marvel could’ve made. ABOUT DAMN TIME! Sure, Tyler Perry was outchea doing the most via church and black struggle driven plots and dialogue — but guys, we know we have it bad so do we really need to be reminded about all the damn time? I just want to feel like Okoye, played by the Zim homegirl Danai Gurira, sometimes and say things like “argh guns, so primitive” you know what I mean? It’s a nice change. In the same line of thought though, I’m not oblivious to the behind-the-scenes controversies of who’s banking the most out of this, or which African artists were allegedly stolen from, etc. However this post is just going to focus on the film from the audience point of view — the politics behind it is a story for another day.

 
[image source:  https://wallpapersite.com/wallpaper/black-panther]

Although the film’s protagonist is technically a black man, I didn’t feel like the narrative excluded or downplayed black women. LOVE THIS! Because often when the race issue is addressed, we are still left with the bitter taste of gender issues. But in Wakanda, women are truly queens and given shine too. I mean think of my girl Okoye, she’s tough, assertive and even though T’Challa, played by Chadwisk Boseman, is the king and all, she can damn well tell him he’ll freeze and prepare for it for the greater good without being chastised for it because she’s a woman ‘stepping out of line’. Then we have our tech guru basically running Wakanda with her brilliant mind, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. How many times do you see black women cast in the role of being intellectual, scientific, witty, and brave? I mean often we have black women done to what happened to Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters, 2016. No shade to you Miss Jones, get your money — but you see what I mean? Of course I wont neglect to mention Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, the spy and ravishing lady who makes the king freeze, loyal to love. LOVE! And because black don’t crack we have got to acknowledge how Angelina Basset who plays the role of Ramonda is the epitome of this statement, grey locks and all. She’s breathtaking and looks not a day older than 35 years.


[image source:  https://wallpapersite.com/wallpaper/black-panther]

Before we go deep again, I must say I lived and loved the intertextuality that was happening in the film. From the scene with Shuri screaming “what are those?” To the scene with Nakia telling Okoye who was complaining about her wig to just “whip back and forth”. Those were my two favourites, in regard to inter-text. There was also this sense of relief and humour when ‘the coloniser’ was repeatedly silenced and unacknowledged while in Wakanda. That stuff never happens in real life so I lived for it hahaha. Needless to mention the scene with M’Baku, played by Winston Duke, barking at ‘the coloniser’ and proceeding to tell him that if he speaks again he’ll be fed to the children, then he laughs and proclaims “I’m just joking, we’re vegetarian.” I died a million times over. Golden! Absolutely golden.


[image source: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/02/winston-duke-black-panther-mbaku-interview]

Now the first time you see him, he is dressed like the typical lost “African-American” boy from the hood, but once he starts pouring out that Wakanda knowledge — JIZZ! Erik Killmonger is both “woke bae” and “hot bae”. Ain’t nothing more sexy than a man that has his wokeness on fleek, has a face and body that looks like he was specially carved by the gods. I literally sunk into my seat every time he came on because your girl couldn’t handle all the heat being served. And yes I know, I know he was technically “the bad guy” in the film, but was he really? All he wanted was Wakanda to help it’s brothers and sisters out, not just the Wakandaians, but like, the rest of us. Lord knows with all this oppression we’re struggling though, a little vibranium here and there wouldn’t hurt, it wouldn’t hurt at all. Also, if there’s a list for this, sign me, my daughter and my mama up! Thanks. On the real though, just like his father N’Jobu, played by Sterling K. Brown who I love in the series This Is Us2016, this ‘bad guy’ just wanted to help the rest of his melanin brothers and sisters. Sure we can discuss the tactics and methods etc. But at the core, were you going to say no to a little vibranium had it made it out of Wakanda? I didn’t think so. Even though  his tactics were SH*T, once again, and I definitely wanted T’Challa to reclaim the throne, I understood Killmonger’s pain, anger, and thirst for revenge and acknowledgement. In any case, he dies in the end with an epic exit quote, “bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped off ships because they knew death was better than living in bondage.” Brilliant line. Sheer brilliance. But, yes there is a but, the quote is problematic when we do take a closer look at some of the things Killmonger did as a result of his pain and anger — and beyond wanting to help other black people. I would further dissect this but an analysis by Azaria Brown explains it perfectly. I still love me some Killmonger though. But I wouldn’t risk dating the dude, wouldn’t want to be collateral damage in his cause hahaha. Life.

 
[image source: https://screenrant.com/black-panther-michael-jordan-dark-place/]

Have you ever noticed how in most racially tense films where black people are in the position to take back power or overthrow an oppressive system, there’s always a plea for mercy and the dialogue usually has a Nelson Mandela like ending to it? Like yes, we’re just going to forgive and forget the obliteration of our traditions, culture, humanity and mere existence, let bygones be bygones and proceed as a united people that sees beyond colour? Ever notice that? No? Just me? LOL. Alright then. I mean don’t get me wrong, I don’t want war, I don’t want any bloodshed. I just feel like, if you need to keep reiterating peace and forgiveness cause you know you f*cked up, then you must be scared things could go really south for you huh? I’m just saying, it must be a scary place to be, wouldn’t want M’Baku and his wolves coming for the land barking and all would you? Hahaha nah, that would be an unfortunate mess… But I don’t think there’s anything to be scared of really. I think one thing still slept on is the majestic nature of melaninated folks — I know Shuri might argue it’s science — but most of us are more inline with the thoughts, methods and heart of T’Challa than Killmonger. I’ve never been a fan of burning things down anyway, unless only if it’s metaphorical. So although Killmonger is bae, T’Challa will always be king, for a queen like me haha! (Jokes, Nakia, jokes. You know what I mean though right girl?)

Would I go watch Black Panther again, most definitely! I would get it on DVD too but nobody buys DVDs anymore when you can just stream, unless you’re buying the DVD as a collectible. I don’t know man, it’s your life. On the other hand, I have been contemplating creating a must-watch folder for my daughter with all the top black focused films and series — I might have not had the “luxury” of growing up seeing many people like me in the media, but she will. Thank God. And even though you can stream most of the top black cast films and series as well, I really just want to have a back-up for her just incase this new acknowledgement and representation of blackness is a mere trend. I mean just like in Get Out, 2017, for some folks “black is in fashion” and I’m not sure what next season is going to bring so I have to be ready. Always. Stay ready.

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