Black History Month reminds us about the hardships and tribulations the black community has faced throughout history: the abuse to their people, the exploitation of their land and all the injustices done against their community. It reminds us how the black community has learned to come together to survive and empower their heritage, rather than adjust to the cultures of those deemed more "powerful." Perfectly in the midst of this month, Marvel's "Black Panther" is set to be released, and its production is already shaking up Hollywood and becoming a great leap for seeing more black representation on screen. "Black Panther" makes us realize how important and rare it is to find powerful black characters not painted in a negative light, but more importantly, it shows how far we've come to show such pride towards its production.
1. It's already breaking milestones in Hollywood.Even before its release on Feb. 16, “Black Panther” is smashing box-office records, beating out both “Captain America: Civil War” and "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
in advance ticket sales, becoming Fandango’s top-selling superhero movie in history, all while still being able to outpace its cinematic counterparts in cultural reach.
Already shaping into a phenomenon, outside groups like "The Boys and Girls Club" are now creating massive GoFundMe pages to buy tickets for black children who aren't able to afford to go see the movie, giving the opportunity for them to finally experience seeing a powerful figure of both their background and color on screen. The trailer for the movie has already reach over 17 million views, a testament to its widespread popularity and massive box office success.
2. It's set in Wakanda.
We're all guilty of picturing Africa as massively impoverished (no thanks to the "10 cents a day can help this poor child in need" commercials with a famine), along with Hollywood's own portrayal of the continent as a barren grassland. As a result, Africa has a terrible reputation, when in reality, it has as much potential as any other continent. Wakanda highlights all this potential: being independent, untouched, uncolonized and still as powerful, both economically and technologically, as any other country.
It shows all that Africa can be if it wasn't stripped of its resources and goods from White supremacy and European powers. It's not another "sh*thole" country that some think Africa is made of today.
3. It features a black and beautiful cast.
A black cast is (sadly) very notable in Hollywood, as the film industry is considered very "white-washed," the Oscars being a great example. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite became trending just two years ago after all the white nominees were called, emphasizing the lack of diversity Hollywood seems to promote.
Still today, only 7.5 percent of all Oscar winners have been non-white; so "Black Panther" being such a great hit and also showcasing an all black cast seemingly is the first time that such representation has been shown and praised on such a grand scale. What sets off "Black Panther" from other movies is that its black cast is NOT negatively portrayed.
The movie is not set within times of segregation or slavery or within "the hood." The characters are not gangsters, rappers, football players or basketball players, but they are strong leaders of their own land, own people and own culture.
4. The soundtrack is literal fire.Made by top charting black artists such as Kendrick Lamar, SZA, The Weekend, 2 Chainz, Tyler the Creator, Khalid, Ice Cube, Ty Dolla $ign, Migos and Future, the soundtrack to the movie also portrays black culture through music, letting the entirety of the movie a production by the black community. It's an example to the possibilities that they as people can hold — another inspiration to recognize during this month and black pride.
5. Feminism plays a big role!
Highly overlooked, "Black Panther" does not forget to highlight their strong females in their cast and the power they hold within their fictional society, in an attempt to rid of the stereotypes that have been created against women throughout history.
Wakanda is portrayed as an African nation that's also the most technologically-advanced society in the world, and within the powerful society lies a special-forces group made up of women called the Dora Milaje and the home to a 16-year-old African princess who has been officially recognized as the smartest person in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Its shines its importance on allowing women to be educated, hold a high status in society and be just as strong and powerful as their male counterparts — not needing a "prince charming" to save them anymore.
"Black Panther" showcases the importance that women hold, the pride that the black community should have in their culture and the possibilities that their community can achieve: breaking box office records, making the top charts and inspiring the new generation all without need for white rule, white influence and white Hollywood.
Finally, the movie we all needed.