Wakanda Forever: Part 7: – Systemic Oppression in America
EYES WIDE OPENED…
After the opening sequence, the Black Panther movie picks up in 1992 with Prince N’Jobu stationed in Oakland, California as a War Dog Spy. We don’t know how long he has been there, but his son (whom he had from an American woman he fell in love with) seems to be about 8 years old. So, N’Jobu has most likely been in America for around 10 years or so.
He arrived in the U.S. from Wakanda with his eyes “wide open.” He knew who he was: a prince of royal blood with a deep connection to his country, tradition and spirituality. His mission, was to observe and report back to his brother, King T’Chaka, and the council, what he discovered about how blacks were treated in America. Read more... (1598 words, 1 image, estimated 6:24 mins reading time)
Wakanda Forever: Part 6 – Ancestor Worship and the Bible
The #BlackPanther movie showcased the spirituality of the people of Wakanda. I believe this aspect of the story shows how important it is to remember that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. No one is a “self-made” person. We all have a past which stretches back to our ancestors and we should honor their legacy. However, honoring those who came before us and worshipping them are two different things altogether.
A DIFFERENT LENS
As a Christian watching Black Panther, ancestor worship was a point of contention for me. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I rely on the Bible as the final authority about the nature of physical and spiritual reality. It is the “lens” through which I try to view the world. The teachings of Jesus Christ (who-as an aside- is not white) is of the utmost importance to me. So, I hold to be true what the Scriptures say about life (how we are to live) and death (what happens after our earthly life is over). Read more... (2675 words, 1 image, estimated 10:42 mins reading time)
Yesterday, Rev. Billy Graham passed in his sleep at 99 years old. For many of us, this marked the end of an era. I have heard the name Billy Graham for most of my life. He was hailed as “America’s Pastor.” He has preached the gospel around the world telling all in attendance that Jesus Christ loves them and they need to surrender their lives to him.
Some question whether or not he did enough in the area of social justice. For one, he was an evangelist, not a pastor. The primary focus of an evangelist is always on the salvation of the human soul… of people having an encounter with the risen Christ. Some may argue that there are different social justice methods to be used to get people to that point. However, our greatest need as men and women is salvation. Social justice, while important to the quality of our earthly experience, is secondary. It’s not unimportant. It is just not the primary thing. Read more... (515 words, 1 image, estimated 2:04 mins reading time)
Wakanda Forever: Part 5 – Strong Women
I’ll be honest, after seeing #BlackPanther with my wife, I was ready to buy her a spear and the Dora Milaje warrior outfit! Shaving her hair is optional, but the elite warriors surely made an impression.
SOMEBODY HELP ME!
There are no “damsels in distress” in this movie. It was refreshing to see women acting from a position of strength rather than weakness. Many of these female characters did what we would stereotypically reserve for men. This movie demonstrated what many of us already know, but rarely see celebrated on the big screen: a woman can be emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually strong! A woman can have honor and loyalty to self, family, nation and world. And not just any woman… but a Black woman. And not only were they strong in the film, but the men in their lives had no major problems deferring to their counsel! Read more... (788 words, 1 image, estimated 3:09 mins reading time)
Wakanda Forever: Part 4 – What Could Have Been…
It’s Sunday night: At the time of this writing, I’ve just come back from seeing Black Panther for the 3rd time since its opening two days ago. The first time I went with my wife and godmother. The second with some friends from church. The third with my parents. Each time has been a great and unique experience, primarily because each audience has been different and responds slightly different. Also, with each viewing, I notice more of the story by picking up dialogue I previously missed and by paying attention to what is happening in the background of a scene instead of the foreground.
A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE Read more... (1226 words, 2 images, estimated 4:54 mins reading time)
Wakanda Forever: Part 3 – The Tragedy of Disconnection
Click here to read Part 2 or Part 1 of this multi-part movie review.
WARNING: there is a minor spoiler in this particular review.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther movie is a treasure chest of a story. One gem in particular which is at the heart of this treasury is a cautionary tale about what can happen when a person is disconnected from their heritage and the relationships which help to define it.
TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
Both T’Challa (protagonist) and Erik Killmonger (antagonist) have been disconnected from their fathers (and by extension their heritage). However, T’Challa has a community and an entire nation which helps him reconnect to who he is and who he is destined to become. On the other hand, Erik Killmonger, who grew up in the ‘hood, has no one and nothing to fall back on but himself. He has a piece of his heritage, but he grows in isolation, warping what he does know into something else entirely. Read more... (1110 words, 1 image, estimated 4:26 mins reading time)
Wakanda Forever: Part 2 – Black Is Beautiful
Click here to read Part 1 of my multi-part Black Panther Movie Review. More to share in the coming weeks!
AN UNEXPECTED THOUGHT
And so it hits me as I’m watching #BlackPanther for the 2nd time on opening day. Sitting in a packed theater with friends & people of all ethnicities, watching T’Challa and Nakia sit on the side of a mountain. They are sharing intimately about a subject matter that’s usually reserved for white characters. At that moment, they both became more beautiful to me. The entire movie became more beautiful to me with its vast array of ebony characters. Africa became more beautiful. Read more... (288 words, 1 image, estimated 1:09 mins reading time)