Black Panther Through a Critical Lens

BLACK PANTHER CHARACTER POSTERS on POPCORNX
Image obtained from Google Images

First of alllllllllll…if you didn’t see Black Panther…GET YOUR PRIORITIES TOGETHER! Lol Black Panther was literally everything I needed in my life to balance out my Black History Month last month. I mean, come on. It was pure art. You had Black people in an uncolonized country running shit, being innovative, being beautiful, and just being all around amazing. You have to give it up to Ryan Cooglar for his creative vision in the direction of the film. The lighting, the imagery, the cast placement, and the overall execution of this movie was so artistic and phenomenal to watch on the big screen. I saw it twice.

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Ryan Cooglar – Image obtained from Google Images

Chadwick Bozeman and Michael B. Jordan obviously were not only delicious looking (my GAWD those men are just so gorgeous to me) but symbolized the real of the unspoken “beef” between Africans and Black people in America. 

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The Black women in all of their glory! Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright. I thank you. Thank you for allowing me to see myself on the screen. Thank you for being intelligent and examples of grace.

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Image obtained from Google Images via Essence Magazine

I found myself “rooting for everybody Black” even though Killmonger was supposed to be the villain. Killmonger was the walking, talking Black experience in America. Black people didn’t ask to be in this country but since we are, we’ve been systematically oppressed and brutalized and villainized. We’ve had major triumphs in this country, don’t get us wrong, but at the end of the day, as long as our skin has pigment, White people will never see us as a full person. So, I was Killmonger in the movie. But I was also T’Challa/Black Panther.

Though we all were basking in the wonderfulness of Black Panther, I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine, Alandis, and he gave me some insights on a perspective that I didn’t even think about, honestly. Alandis loved the movie as much as I did, however, our discussion lead to an underlying message that he saw in the movie: White supremacy was still live and well in that movie. How? I asked the same thing because nothing could change my mind. Black Panther was for US FOR THE CULTURE and White people could not have that moment. But as Black and beautiful as the movie was, I was open to listening to his perspective.

 

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Image obtained from Google Images via Entertainment Weekly

Alandis loved the movie and believed it was something we needed as Black people. But his argument was that the white guy in Black Panther was placed there as a white savior. He asked the questions, “Why couldn’t this movie just be for us? Why did they feel the need to keep him alive when they weren’t even concerned about keeping their own blood alive (Killmonger)?” I tried to explain that the Black women were the ones who were ready to fight, the white guy asked if he could help. No one asked for his help. The Black women allowed him to help out of convenience and needing someone to fly their machine to shoot down the machines that was carrying the vibranium. Alandis still believed that Marvel wouldn’t have made a Black man in any other white Marvel movie to help save the day the way Black Panther did. He posits that the scene where the tribes were fighting against each other, wouldn’t have been done against white people. He said that we wouldn’t see Black Panther’s soldiers fighting an opposing side who was all white.

Now, while I don’t necessarily agree with Alandis (and he knows that cuz we talked about it), I do see where he was coming from. We get so wrapped up in how good and amazing a movie is that we can miss some subliminal messages.

I do want to provide some counter questions to these assumptions about the hidden messages of the movie. Are we more critical of “Black” movies than we are other mainstream movies? Would we be looking at mainstream movies and stripping them apart the same way? It is my hope that Alandis’ argument is not true. I would hope that director Ryan Cooglar would have checked Marvel and Disney if they even thought about asking him to do anything like that. But we, unfortunately, will never know the real deal.

In my opinion, whether you agree with Alandis or agree with me that there was no white savior, this conversation is good to have with family and friends. If you decide to talk about this, I would love to hear about it. Leave me a common under this post, in the contact section of my blog, or on my social media platforms!

 

❤ Queen T

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Image obtained from Google Images

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