What Black Panther means to this black, female African

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I’m not much of a Marvel movies fan. Not that I have anything against them, just that anytime I’ve been to watch one it was because someone else wanted to watch it. I would enjoy them but that’s as far as it went. What I’m trying to say is I’m no Sheldon when it comes to comic books/movies. And yet when I found out about Black Panther and what it was about, I couldn’t wait to watch it.

So many things resonated with me from that movie. There is no way I could mention each and every one of them. Below are the ones I hope will inspire you or get you thinking:

1. Anything is possible. The movie itself defied the odds. Despite the belief that movies with a predominantly black cast will not make much money (unless they are targeting black people) the movie has to date made over a billion dollars. It has already broken numerous records and made an impact on people all over the world. I don’t know what the producers, directors and everyone involved in the movie expected the movie to do for people, what I do know is that it has undoubtedly exceeded their expectations. If a movie like this, with a mostly black cast, showing Africa in a positive light, putting women in the forefront can hit the screens and do so well then I know anything is indeed possible. It reminds me that my dreams will see the light of day. So will yours.

2. Women rock! I already know that but it’s great when a movie can show the world that, especially young people. Black Panther put women in major roles. Not only that, it also showcased different types of women; women in tech, women in authority, women who follow their cause/passion among others. It’s the kind of movie I want my children-to-be, especially my daughter-to-be watching. For her to see female power, black power and African power in one movie would be amazing, I can’t wait for that day.

3. Made me even more proud to be African. It’s easy in this world where Africa is deemed a third world to buy into that kind of thinking. To let the world define who and what we are as Africans. Africa might not have vibranium but it has many resources that the world wants and more often than not gets. Africa has gold, diamonds, oil and of course us, the people. Yet we allow the world to look down on us and even worse sometimes we look down on ourselves. Like the Wakandans, as Africans we need to stand tall and be proud of what and who we are. Phambili!

4. Just because you have different view points doesn’t mean either of you is wrong. You can both be right, and have a better impact if you bring your differing views together to form one acceptable compromise. In many movies where there’s a hero and a villain, it’s easy to love the hero and hate the villain. I had difficulty with that in Black Panther because the so called villain Killmonger, made some great points and he was fighting for what I considered a good cause. Granted I might not have agreed with how he went about it but there was merit to his cause. In the same way the differing views between the leader of the kingdom guards Okoye and the spy Nakia, although in conflict, does not make either of them wrong. This got me thinking and I will bear it in mind the next time my views differ from someone else. I wish politicians would do the same.

5. Better to be dead than to be in bondage. Towards the end of the movie, in probably one of the best scenes of the movie Killmonger says something quite profound. He says he would rather die than be imprisoned. He would rather follow the footsteps of his ancestors who jumped into the ocean rather than be slaves. In his words “They knew death was better than bondage.” That line got me and it cut deep. Although I love life too much to choose death, I can appreciate that if you’re in bondage you might as well be dead. Without even realizing it, many of us are in bondage. This bondage takes many forms. We can be in bondage to our jobs, our relationships, our beliefs, even though they are not serving us or saving us for that matter. There are many other ways we can be in bondage. What is keeping you in bondage or should I say what are you allowing to keep you in bondage? Only you can free yourself from that. I thought about what my bondage is and I’ve resolved to free myself from it. I hope you do the same.

Those are the points that I got from this movie. The bonus for me was the fact that one of the actors, Danai Gurira (who plays Okoye) is Zimbabwean. As a Zimbabwean that means a lot to me. I don’t know if she ever dreamed that one day she would play a character like that in a movie of this magnitude. What that has shown me is that anything is possible. Yes I keep repeating that but it begs repetition. If a black, female, African Zimbabwean can do that, why can’t I where my dreams are concerned? They may have nothing to do with acting but they are bigger than me and seem impossible at the moment. And yet seeing Danai Gurira in that role slaying made me sit just a little bit straighter, stand a little bit taller, knowing she has just paved the way not just for me but for other people who have dreams.

Have you watched the movie? If yes, what stood out for you from the movie? Who was the character that you identified with, the one you saw a bit of yourself in? Please share in the comments. For me it was Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o. I love how she wants to save the world. She has her passion/cause which she follows no matter what.

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