Four months later, Wakanda is still basking in Black Panther’s $1 billion dollar plus gross, the triumph of King T’Challa, the brilliance of Princess Shuri and the legacy of Kilmonger. But I still have questions: Will this simply be another fad? Can and how do we sustain the ideals seen in the Marvel Comic Universe movie? Before the Committee of Policing Blackness come for my Black Card, as a blerd, I am aware there are a disproportionate amount of white superheroes between the DC and Marvel Universe. Well aware. However, Coogler’s masterpiece mustered up a hope for steps to be taken in real life to creating our own versions of Wakanda, based two themes that strongly resonated with me.
Unity. In the sovereign nation of Wakanda, we see the needed element crucial to black empowerment. With the history of trend-setting/trend following power we as black people, people of color have, can this become a new trend? Can we set a trend of supporting black-owned businesses, giving support and financial backing to those we see trying to do and become better with business endeavors? J. Edgar Hoover said the greatest threat to the nation (read: white supremacy/systemic racism) was ‘negro unity.’ There’s strength in numbers.
The Power of Black Innovation. There is Wakandacon Convention in Chicago, IL, August 3-5, and tickets are on sale now! It is being held over three days to provide space for innovation, creativity, and networking opportunities. Black Panther can’t just be ‘for the culture,’ it has to exist for our economics, politics and creativity too.
I don’t want Black Panther and its impact to become something to simply be stored in our collective cultural memory. I want us, all of us, to be more aware of how much we need each other to succeed, to push one another as we prioritize the success of the collective. More and more of us are taking control of the narrative to correct it or rewrite it, not just on screen but in real life too. NASA used Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura from the original Star Trek) to promote diversity in its space program. Yes, Wakanda is fictional, but our power, talent and magic are not. Let’s not overlook the “Forever” in that lovely mantra as we continue building our realities.
Jennifer P. |Write to Live Team