The Black Panther movie has been breaking box office records. Theaters have been sold out, and for the most part, people are giving it a thumbs up. There has been a lot of cosplay demonstrated, where people dress up like characters in the film. Others are dressing in African garb. The feeling generated by the film is sweeping the Black community somewhat like the series Roots did back in the day. But there are important differences. This film is one of the first in history to depict Black people in the way that it has…people from a highly technical, developed society who are self-determined and have the capability of helping themselves and others.
The movie is a take-off of a comic book character published by Marvel Comics. The movie also has support from the Disney Corporation. It is ironic, therefore, that white people are playing a role in what can become an awakening of sorts among Blacks. Of course, a lot of people think this phenomenon is much ado about nothing, and that after the clouds clear things will go back to business as usual.
The truth, though, is that whatever happens next, our children have an opportunity to witness something very special: the images of beautiful Black people. This movie depicts Black people as really beautiful, but it doesn’t stop there. Not only are they shown as beautiful, but they were described as very intelligent and, without providing any spoilers, in control of their own destinies. This is a radical thought when considering the fact that most depictions of Black people in popular culture have shown Black people as poor, downtrodden, crooked, and the epitome of powerlessness. The Black Panther goes against this grain.
With that said, the world as we experience it is created in our conscious minds. It is not what happens to us, it is our response to what happens that counts. There have always been Black people who understood this, but those who have achieved some modicum of success are looked upon with suspicion. There is a Black cultural Catch-22 – succeed and you’re a sellout who could not have possibly made it without the help of whites, or without somehow double-crossing Black people. On the other hand, when people are mired in poverty, it is also blamed on white people, even if this occurs in countries populated mainly by Black people. This is not being said in order to castigate anyone; it is hoped that we understand that the Black community must break out of this self-defeating mindset in order to rise above obstacles. After all, struggle is the hallmark of all life on this planet. We are to use struggle as a catapult to growth and achievement.
Now, with this said, let’s imagine the future for a moment. Imagine what it would be like if tomorrow, every Black person looked at every other Black person with a sense of pride and love. Imagine how it would be if every Black business enjoyed the full support of other Blacks. Imagine how it would be if the true history and origin of Blacks was taught in schools showing the ancient foundations of the race. Imagine how it would be if people would use waste baskets and everyone took it upon himself to keep the community clean. Imagine what it would be like if all of the Black sports and entertainment specialists pooled their resources for the sake of community development. And imagine a worldwide communications network constructed and operated by Black people. Finally, imagine how the world would be if the focus of our youth was on learning to LEARN, on trying to understand the science of life, and on the tools needed to craft a viable infrastructure for Black survival rather than on the latest sneakers and negative elements of popular culture. Sounds far-fetched, yet it is all possible. It only takes an act of COLLECTIVE WILL to bring this picture into reality. This collective will would enable the community to break out of self-confinement constructed by a response to centuries of economic violence and technological oppression. If we could just make these changes, we could imagine the future; we could imagine ourselves out of the current predicament and create a glorious Black society not unlike that which is portrayed in the Black Panther. We must control our own destiny, and that is up to us! A Luta Continua.