*Since this movie blew up the theaters there have been a metric ton of think-pieces and examinations about it. I’ve tried to collect as many of these as I thought were interesting, leaving out all the contrarian negative stuff. I know I promised to write a review, but there’s nothing I would say in it that isn’t already covered by the three lists of think pieces I’ve collected. (Maybe later, I’ll jot something down about my feelings for the various characters or something.)
*But first up, I thought this essay was related to the idea of Wakanda having never been colonized, versus how we are all taught by popular media to think of the continent of Africa. You can read this first ,and then play a drinking game of how many times the writers do these things in the following articles:
Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Also useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.
Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.
Black Panther has a lot to say about politics:
*I didn’t agree with this review but I’m including it here because some of you will find it interesting, and the author does make other salient points. I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback by the depiction of the lone African American in the movie. I was deeply saddened by Killmonger, while agreeing with much of his philosophy. I get why he was angry. I was also saddened by the fate of the only African American woman in the entire film, and I wish the director had put more thought into it. I get the point he’s trying to make, but it still felt pretty bad to watch that point being made.
5 Lessons from Black Panther That Can Save Our Lives — and Transform Black Politics – Medium.com
Dear Fellow White People: Go See “Black Panther” – Medium.com
Here are six reasons. Do it this weekend. Seriously, just go.
*This article is about people who are trolling the movie. As the movie began to take off last weekend, there were a number of alt-right trolls who posted fake tweets demonising the movie’s fans, and claiming that white people had been beaten up at theaters.
I put this here to point out the utter futility of their efforts in trying to disparage and destroy this movie. Their efforts will always meet with failure, not because they’re awful, (because yeah, they are) but because, by the time they are resorting to efforts to sabotage these movies, it’s already too late. These acts are purely defensive, and only illustrate how little control such people have over mainstream media.
All they have in their arsenal to combat progress is more of the same lies and vitriol against black people that they’ve always espoused. Their messages are not new, and not effective.
*Not all of these essays were written by Black reviewers, but even so, I thought the reviewer, regardless of race, had interesting things to say about the philosophies of, and psychology behind, the film’s characters. Just becasue White reviewers can’t (or won’t) talk about race, doesn’t mean they have nothing worthwhile to say on other topics.
Let’s face it, women are the backbone of this movie, holding it down and keeping it 100. I was surprised to find that my favorite female character was Nakia. (I thought it would be Okoye.)
I was watching #BlackPanther and after Okoye was called the general a boy next to me said : “I didn’t know girls can be generals!”
That’s why representation matters
One of the best things about #BlackPanther was definitely the women. Shuri, our princess is cheeky, charming and a fcking genius. Okoye could kill me and I’d gladly thank her. If I have even an ounce of Nakia’s compassion, I would be a better woman that I am now.
The Making of:
*Everyone wants to know everything about the making of Wakanda, and Ruth Carter’s major influences on her designs for the film.
Ruth Carter is a Hollywood costume designer who grew up in Springfield. Her career spans a long list of major motion pictures, and she is best known for her work on Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” receiving Academy Award nominations for both films. Carter’s most recent work can be seen in “Selma,” a film about the trio of marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.
“The PanAfrican flag is red, black and green, so when you see Okoye, T’Challa and Nakia in their covert looks, you’re seeing the PanAfrican flag.” – Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther.
Oh, yeah. The hair thing:
*This essay was originally written as a response to Beyonce’s Lemonade but many of the writer’s arguments can be equally applied to any media that is made by, and speaks to, a Black audience, including Black Panther.
*This is what Tumblr fans are saying about representation:
He does not like superhero movies and normally he falls asleep in the cinema. But not this time, he was on the edge of his seat and he said that he didn’t wanna miss a single moment. He absolutely loved the movie, the first thing he did when we got home was to call his african friend, yelling at him to go watch it as soon as possible. The second thing he did was ask me when the sequel will be out.
I asked my dad what he liked about the movie and he said everything. He loved that almost everyone was black and that they spoke Xhosa. He was so happy that they captured what life is actually like in many african cities in those scenes when they were walking around in wakanda. Seeing the people sit in cafes, buying food from food stands, kids running around with school bags, just people living their everyday life all the while being unapologetically african. He said he felt as if he was back home. And he was so happy that there finally was a movie where africans weren’t starving, or warlords, or dealing drugs. He told me that this is the kind of movie he has wanted to see for years, not alluding to the superhero stuff but the fact that they portray africans the same way that most if not all movies portray white people and not criminalize or dehumanize them but uplifting them. He loved every single character and especially M’Baku but his absolute favourite was the Queen mother Ramonda because she was so calm and collected while simultaneously being this strong queen. My dad, coming from a culture that really uplifts and value mothers and holds them above all, felt like the movie really captured that in Ramonda and that’s why he loved her.
He loved the soundtrack and how they mixed in djembe drums and traditional african singing with modern western music and he loved the costumes because a lot of the clothes look like the things people are wearing at all the african parties we go to.
The only complaint my dad had was that the sound was to high, which was his own fault for insisting that he sit at the end of the row right next to one of the speakers.
So yeah, representation do matter. I’ve never in my life seen him so happy about a movie. And he wanted to talk about it after it had ended which never happens normally. We joked around with the idea of him being a wakandan wardog stationed here and we did Shuris and T’Challas little handshake saying that is the only way we will now greet other africans. This movie gave my dad pure joy and happiness and it gave us a bonding opportunity because we finally have something that we both could geek out about.
After Black Panther, and Coco, and all the other great films that have come out and boasted great representation (and great Box Office returns) I hope all movie studios are aware that nothing can every go back to the way it used to be.
Like, you know how when you’ve had something high quality, and you just can’t go back to the bargain brand again because you know what this product is supposed to be?
Well, Black Panther and Coco just introduced an entire generation of people (young and old alike) what positive representation is supposed to feel like.
People aren’t going to stand for “This character couldn’t be X because it’s a stereotype.”
People aren’t going to stand for “This character had a small role but it’s fine because X”
People ain’t gonna stand for “Finn can’t be written well because there’s no place for his story to go”
People aren’t going to stand for “Iron Fist couldn’t be Asian-American because it perpetuates a stereotype.
People aren’t going to stand for “We couldn’t find the right type of actor so we just went with a white person.”
People aren’t going to stand for “Let’s make the black woman a frog for the entire movie.”
People aren’t going to stand for “There weren’t any people of color in this era. It wouldn’t be historically accurate.”
People aren’t going to stand for “Well…it’s close enough, isn’t it? Why’re you complaining?”
Movie studios thought it was bad before? Honey. Buckle up.
I loved the African reaction to this movie:
*And the windup: