Leo Insights: Black Panther (Part 1)
Keeping this post spoiler free, is a pipe dream so in advance I highly recommend that anyone who has not seen Black Panther to not read further because this is nothing but spoilers, analysis, and my own insights.
~ Lets dive in a bit, but I have a lot to say so expect more soon.
Black Panther: I'm Blessed to see all this black joy
First, let me start by talking about what seeing this movie met for me. I suppose the obvious joy in seeing such a strong presence of Black actors was important in my understanding of cinematic history. The overwhelming beauty of seeing people on screen that look like me revitalized my entire soul. The significance of seeing warriors, heroes, and royalty in my skin tone reminded me of the hope I held as an ambitious youth dreaming to be a hero. I was ecstatic to watch the movie with my friends and family. This experience had value and I could see its impact on my siblings, and that proved that there was a chance for them to succeed in their dreams. Black Panther really inspires across generations. I'm excited to see what comes out of the youth who grew up with Black Panther as a Marvel movie.
On top of all the symbolism this movie offers, Black Panther showed me that I have a chance as a black creative to create a fictional world of power, magic, and spiritualism that connects to its audiences. The afro-futurism really captivated me as a fantasy and sci-fiction enthusiast. To see the vision of this genre on the big screen made my heart flutter. I was in love all over again, like the first time I wrote a poem. My love for writing was sparkling through each scene. My poetic soul sang through each narrative. The complexity of the story was, as a writer, orgasmic for me. Black Panther showed me that my it is possible, and that type of magic was worth everything to me. I fluctuated through so many emotions and experiences watching this movie seeing it more than once is still not enough. Every facet of this movie was thought-provoking in layers. There is not one scene that I won't discuss or want to revisit. This cultural phenomenon is just about taking over my life each second I glance out my little hobbit hole. I'm humbled, inspired, and prideful and its a conundrum of complexity within my mind that I can't express all that I felt in just one post!
Black Panther: Complexity of Characters (aka a spoiler-heavy section)
Oh my M'Baku (who was played by Duke Winston) or as I refer to him Thick Zaddy M'Baku, was a compelling pace of character development to see occur throughout the movie. I mean one moment he's coming out of the cave (reminding me of HBCU fraternity calls) to get rid of T'challa and the next he's saving T'challa and Wakanda looking thicker than ever. While his physique and height were certainly fetching let me talk about the speedy turn around that is my new vegetarian thick zaddy. I'm drooling in two places while I write about M'Baku, but I will do my best to not stray from my intellectual inquiry on this fine specimen of a black man. Considering that i've never read the comics, i'm only giving my thoughts based on his representation in the movie. So his first appearance in the movie I was sure that he would resurface again after his defeat in the challenge for kingship. I felt at first that the Jbari tribe indicated a traditional lifestyle of black people, that resurfaces in each generation to keep the deeper message of whatever it means to be Black alive. However, once we revisited the tribe, saw the mountains I realized that the Jabari people were symbolic for the change of tradition into modern lifestyles, supporting the next generation ideals and dreams which manifests in T'challa. M'Baku's change of heart felt like the traditional generation uplifting the next generation's fight. His character was not only this symbol to me, but also humorous his comedic lines and aggressive demeanor depicted the joy and complexity that resides within the perceived aggressive black men. Real talk, that man can show me what being vegetarian is like on any day.
Lupita Nyong'o and her fierce character Nakia. Ah, can you imagine how amazing it would be to see a movie solely on her life as a spy for Wakanda! The possibilities delight me. I'm excited and quivering just thinking of her work as a spy and activist. Nakia, as a character is honestly like a dream of mine. Her loyalty to Wakanda, her devotion to her cause, her respect for cultures, and her passion. I was in love as soon as she hit the screen. However, there is one aspect that really blew me while I sat munching on overpriced theatre snacks. HER MOTIVATIONS were the same as Killmongers. While her dreams were later realized towards the end of the movie, why did it take killing Killmonger for her ideas to be listened to seriously? It bugged me so much, I was scrambling to see if anyone else was also mad about that. I wondered if this was done on purpose to highlight that women can be ignored about solid groundbreaking social change in favor of men because of their aggressiveness in getting shit done. Someone, please change my mind that part of the movie is not what I theorize it to be. Otherwise, i'm gonna blog about it more and more until my curiosity and inquiry are satisfied. Still, I'm crossing my fingers that they do a movie solely on her character or the Dora Milaje cause there is so much to unpack about Wakanda that a two-hour movie will not quench my Wakanda thirst.
If I thought Nakia was fierce, I lost all my shit when I saw the Dora Milaje come out. I was prepared my brothers and sisters to whip my wig off and fight alongside them. I'm two steps close to shaving my hair back down right now! Tell me why I shouldn't shave my head and live with the purest freedom. As a meme on Facebook said, the future is females who don't have time for hair products! Ahem. Anyway, Okoye, her loyalty to Wakanda was something to behold. At the scene where she faces down her husband W'Kabi and he asks her if she would kill him for Wakanda. MY QUEEN SAID YEET. No, she said it more elegantly and fiercely, but the point is my General told her man her job comes first. You know what I saw in her? The type of working woman who is on her grind for motivations laughed at by men. I saw her convictions as a warrior the same as those I see in my own mother, young mothers, and others who are working towards their dream. I saw the essence of women with a strength that is constantly mocked or belittled in her character. She was the manifestation of pride, beauty, elegance, strength, and power I see in Black women everywhere. I was honored to witness this strength in her character. Another aspect I also enjoyed, although weird to say I enjoyed it, was when Okoye was crying over T'Challas presumed death. Often, I feel that black women are told not to cry or allowed to emote about their experiences. I think to see this warrior grieve, to see her express such a genuine response to a loved one was beautiful. She showed women, and strong women at that, it is okay to cry. It is okay to love or feel the depth of what you feel.
If you thought my Leo Insights on TV, Music, Films, Art, and Culture addicting or amusing stay tuned for the next one by subscribing and following my blog! Comments & Questions are welcome, tell me thoughts about the movie!
P.S. My eyebrows are lost from looking at M'Baku