I'm sure if you've been on any form of social media in the past couple of weeks you couldn't help but notice dashiki-clad movie-goers emitting black boy joy and black girl magic all down your news feed ever since the premiere of Marvel's "Black Panther" hit theaters.
Okay, let me start by saying that I was the first one to purchase my ticket to the movie on Thursday, February 15th, 2018, at 10:55 pm (after I got out of work). I proudly wore my “Beautiful MeIanin” sweater and natural fro. I sat with my roommates in the fourth row of Regal Cinemas 16.
I hooted and hollered and squealed and Milly-rocked as I saw that the majority of the cast were some of my favorite black actors on screen creating a narrative for the black community that is not done often enough in Hollywood.
I traveled to the breathtaking fictional African nation of Wakanda and back again, (my edges were snatched multiple times people). And I have to include that I ogled over the fine milk chocolate man that is Michael B. Jordan (can we take a moment and appreciate that boy... sheesh).
My point is that I was just as excited for this movie as anyone else. And rightfully so, the film exceeded all expectations and it was so awesome to see such an immediate and passionate response from people all over.
In case you're wondering what all the hype is about, there is a reason this groundbreaking film boasts the second-best sophomore weekend in U.S. box office history, generated more than 200 million dollars on its opening weekend, and almost 400 million in the first ten days it was released, as well as shattering a ton of other records.
Aside from that, it was such an important film for the black community, and all communities, to see dark-skinned individuals as such powerful, wealthy, and intelligent beings. (Shuri was everything, amirite?)
The Marvel film doesn't hold back, making many satirical observations. The viewer gets the chance to witness what African nations might have had the potential to become had they not been colonized by Europeans. It takes a deep look at America's history as well as its present-day socioeconomic racial disparities.
Throughout the movie elements of science fiction, magic, and actual American realities combine to explore the present state of the African diaspora as well as its place in the future.
It is a statement that our race, the black race, is capable of being very advanced people, and just as strong as any other race, even stronger in some aspect. And Ryan Coogler does an incredible job wrapping all of that into a superhero movie. (The action scenes were pretty amazing as well)
Pride swells in my heart at the reaction to the film. I will admit that at first, I was a bit uneasy about everyone wearing African tribal wear that wasn't directly a costume from the movie. In my eyes, it became borderline appropriation seeing as to how a lot of black Americans today know nothing about African customs but parade around in their cultural dress anyway. But after mulling it over a bit more, I realized this is a means of celebration.
We're not appropriating, we're appreciating.
We're celebrating this film and everything it represents by dressing up in the garments of our predecessors. We're celebrating our ancestry, even if we are so far removed from it. We're celebrating ourselves and our fellowship. We're celebrating the fact that a film with a majority black cast is able to break box office records the way it has. It's our way of saying: "We are proud to be descendants of Africa. This film is a win for us all."