Black Panther

War Chief, Warriors and Attendants, Edo, 1600s

Is it a coincidence that in 1966 Stan Lee created the comic book character Black Panther and a few months later the activist Black Panther Party was formed? Maybe. It is certainly no coincidence that the movie’s origin story was set in Oakland, where the Black Panther Party was founded. Political references abound throughout the movie “Black Panther”, from its Oakland introduction to its epilogue. [Spoiler Alert] When did the United Nations move to Vienna? Why?

Black Power is on full display. The movie’s cast is almost exclusively black, except for a couple of Tolkien white guys. Afrocentric, “Black Panther” shows Africans unbowed by racism. It has a cast peppered with role models. Strong women predominate. The king’s daddy issues aside, their intellect governs. Unconquered and empowered, the people of Wakanda are a shiny beacon to a movie world that has never seen their like before.

Afro-futurism is a term bandied about with this show. Its African setting and sci-fi patina prompts this aphorism. I wonder what real effects this movie will have upon its target audience. How will black kids react to seeing this movie?  Why positively, of course. In this movie they are shown their future as has not been shown before. Among all the colorful robes and gleaming gizmos, it is in the actors’ countenances and bearing, where the true power of this movie lies. 

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