“Wakanda Forever!” And Why I Call My Grandchildren “King” And “Queen”
Whenever I had the privilege of seeing two of my three grandchildren – Gordon IV or “Little Gordy,” now 21 months old and Michaela, 10 months old, I started referring to them as “My King” and “My Queen” within a few months after their respective births. The movie of the year is part of the reason why.
We are witnessing history! The mega-film Black Panther has hit No. 1 with a Billion Dollar Bullet! The timing has been near perfect with the film being released to pay homage to both Black History Month (February) and Women’s Appreciation Month (March).
As some people scratch their heads and try to figure out why the movie is such a gigantic 10-figure phenomenon in both national and worldwide box office sales, others have embraced the fact that Black Panther is simply much more than a movie, but part of a movement that could dictate a brighter future for people of color and champions of diversity.
That’s the kind of future I desire for me with whatever years I have left, my adult children and also my grandchildren. Although they probably will not actually serve on anybody’s throne, I want to assure – even at their current delicate young ages – they start developing the very best and most positive self-images, a critical element needed to help them establish that strong inner-confidence core, along with a strong will for excellence to boldly dare to succeed later in their lives.
There’s no question now: Black Panther is not only the most successful movie in history that features a predominantly black cast but has now become the most influential and high-impactful media project, with enough dynamic impact to raise an entire nation. That’s important to recognize when you detect how Blacks and Africans have been negatively depicted in most traditional Hollywood films, especially since the release of the contentious and image-destructive movie Birth of a Nation in 1915.
Today, when my grandchildren look in the mirror, the strong deplorable stereotypical influences from conventional Hollywood could be offset from films like Black Panther and the recently released A Wrinkle in Time. That dramatically decreases the possibility that my grandkids, via the large screen, will be seeing themselves as nothing above thugs, gangsters, criminals, maids, butlers or someone considered irrelevant, nonproductive or unimportant in society.
Black Panther has the potential, combined with other developing elements in the Black community, to reverse all of that.
Although the colorful multi-cultured and the highly technological nation of Wakanda is fictional, it represents what Africa could have been had not been for the suppressive and violent colonialism dealt with them over the past centuries by several European nations. Africa can – and will – harbor strong FIRST WORLD nations, not THIRD WORLD countries.
Black Panther himself is the lead superhero character, not the backup or third string: he’s the MAN.
Shuri, the technologically-savvy little sister of Black Panther can and will encourage more girls to pursue careers inSTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
And then there’s the bold and astonishing Dora Milaje, the team of women military fighters commissioned to protect Black Panther. Their sheer fearlessness and strength are capturing the hearts of not just Black women but aspiring women around the world. It has the potential to vastly redefine how women envision themselves.
The multiple positive symbolisms and messages behind these characters in the film are too numerous to discuss in this column, but never has there been such a concentration of them in one movie, until Black Panther.
The ultra-powerful images and depiction of the African and African American could totally destroy all of the falsely-installed past negative images that have programmed millions to accept mediocrity, welcome hopelessness and settle for less in their lives.
Right before our eyes, Black Panther is providing much more than just pure entertainment value, but presenting itself as a powerful tool that shapes the minds of individuals, groups of people and an entire country. If you haven’t gone out to seen Black Panther yet, it’s a must-go. It will easily satisfy your basic quest of being thoroughly entertained. Additionally, for African Americans, it can alter your perspectives about how you see yourself, very much for the better.
I’ll keep calling my grandchildren “King” and “Queen,” in hopes of helping produce part of a platform that will help them discover the God-given greatness inside of them, then execute, bringing it out so that they build a life of eminence and become outstanding spiritual citizens of the world.
Gordon Jackson, Editor
Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum