“I hear those chains falling”… Song: Break Every Chain by Tasha Cobbs
Like millions of people, I saw the movie Black Panther last weekend and all I can say is… man, it was good.
Let me be transparent, I was not all that hype to see the movie as many were. I love film and watch A LOT of it so I’ve learned not to get too excited about something before I see it. Of course, I was celebrating the fact that this was an all black cast but Hollywood has done us so wrong for so long and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. My sister aka movie partner was worried about my lackluster attitude toward seeing it.
“That frame is embedded in my memory bank until the day that I die…”
Now I have always had a great disdain for the typical slave movies that have been made over the years. I completely understand that history needs to be told and people need to see what our ancestors have gone through but I’ve always thought if you saw one slave movie you’ve seen them all. I hate seeing my people like that much less to know that these were real-life situations for so many. I did see the movie Django Unchained and that was the first that I saw of an empowered black man but it was still a slave movie. Django wasn’t empowered because he was willing to talk back to the slave owner but rather because he was willing and ready to fight back, I appreciated that. I think that was the twinkle of light that things were going to be changing.
Black Panther has remnants of Django Unchained in the way they were trying to change the narrative of black people, black love and highlighting the separation issues within black culture. Where Django fell short for me, other than being a slave movie, was the whole woman need saving narrative of which I also have a strong disdain for as well. I did appreciate that they showed black love as being something that is passionate and beautiful but she didn’t have to be so weak.
“often misconstrued as being “angry.” But Okoye, I found to be a breath of strength filled air that I took in gratefully… “
Okay, enough about Django back to The Black Panther! When we got to the theater I started feeling a sense of excitement. After seeing the numerous post of black people going decked out in African Garb it made me happy to see them so happy. I looked around to see if anyone was doing that at my theater but sadly no, after all, I live in Connecticut so there’s that.
When T’Challa first graced the screen my little heart went pitter patter. Not because he was handsome, he is darn good lookin’, but Chadwick Boseman just embodied this boldness and strength in the character without having to say a word. Danai aka Okoye also showed the same attributes in her character. In the past black woman who were shown on the big screen to have any sort of strength brought that strength through having an attitude and often misconstrued as being “angry.” But Okoye, I found to be a breath of strength filled air that I gratefully took in.
I was fooled for a moment when T’Challa went to save Lupita aka Nakia. I rolled my eyes and thought they just had to add in the weak black woman but then she jumped out that damn van and started kickin’ butt and YELLED at T’Challa for trying to rescue her. His response, no, the way he responded to her was beautiful. Even though he had all right to be upset at her as he was dealing with his father’s death he was calm, hella cool, and collected.
“I melted at T’challa and Nakia’s love and when they kissed I felt color flush to my cheeks as if…”
Jumping ahead, there is a scene when Nakia, T’Challa, and Okoye entered the casino and the camera is behind them as they walk in. That frame is embedded in my memory bank until the day that I die. To see T’Challa with two intelligent strong women on both sides of him as he continued to embody such strength just floored me. Much like this one, there were many non-speaking scenes that spoke volumes. Whoever decided on that frame in particular my heart, my body, heck my soul thanks you!
There were parts that annoyed me and there were parts that I didn’t get as I am an analytical film consumer, but the overwhelming sense of change that this film signaled overwrote anything that I could find wrong with the movie. I am not one for gushy love scenes but I melted at T’challa and Nakia’s love and when they kissed I felt color flush to my cheeks as if I were being kissed. Maybe I did imagine that last one but help me Jesus, T’Challa..Can I holla’.
I have learned so much about film from watching this movie as well as seeing all the behind the scenes clips and interviews. Such as, how important it is to pay attention to the clothing, selecting actors who share similar characteristics to the character they are playing, and being specific about what frames make the cut. My inner writer and filmmaker spirit has been set a fire and will change the way in which I write my stories.
In my last post “why did you write that story,’ I spoke about finding the reason behind why I write. I thought I figured it out then but trust and believe I know the” why” now. Film has a way of signaling change as it puts an image in front of people to aspire towards, good and bad. I want to be apart of the good that changes the world and the false narratives that we hold on to. Most importantly I want to share God’s love and message with the world.
We are the most high God’s greatest creation, humankind that is. We have the ability to bask in God’s love and live our best lives no matter our situation. We hold the key to what we will and will not do but he compels us to always do what is right for one another.
To the black panther cast and crew, Thank you for just being you!