How 'Black Panther' Is A Springboard For Our Voices To Be Even Louder Than Before
"...we can use this moment in time, for how long we have it, to build momentum towards real, unadulterated freedom."
If you've seen the new Marvel film, Black Panther (shame on you if you haven't), you know that it is more than a movie — it is a phenomenon. It has surpassed what we think about as a super hero or comic book movie, diving deep into our souls to make people of color feel like we can accomplish anything. When I went to see the movie, I stood in line for two hours with individuals of all shades and ages. Empowered, young, black girls and boys beamed with enthusiasm. I witnessed colorful outfits, dashikis and all black everything, converged in this one movie theater, and all I could think was, this is revolutionary.
As with any revolution, it takes consistent determination, heartache and integrity to complete the change being fought so hard to accomplish. So I ask, where do we go from here? With news pundits and politicians who swear that we live in a post-racial society, police brutality, events in Charlottesville and, of course, the election of Donald Trump, I wonder in what reality are they living in. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe we have come a long way, but I also believe that we can use certain events as a springboard to empower our community. This is the whole point of me writing this article. We can use this moment in time, for how long we have it, to build momentum towards real, unadulterated freedom.
As I was riding in the backseat of my Uber the other day, listening to whatever radio station was on at the time, a young boy called into the show. He began by telling them his age, his race and saying he was not an adult, but wanted to speak on the impact the Black Panther had on him. I remember the radio DJ asking him what he felt after watching it. After a brief pause, the young boy screamed with unabashed jubilance, “I feel like I can do anything!” I am not telling you that this movie has wiped away the centuries of brutality and racism inflicted on minorities, but mere fact that a young boy of color can stand up and proclaim that anything is possible is exciting.
There is always charm to faded glory, but also the melancholy of a moment past, a perfection irretrievably lost. With more minority-owned businesses, banks, the increase in graduates of higher education, politically minded artists like Kendrick Lamar and athletes like Colin Kapernick, we are living in a real, historical renaissance. Think about that for a minute.
In school, I remember reading about the Harlem Renaissance. I listened as my father told me about Black Wall Streets in places like Tulsa, Oklahoma, and growing up reading eccentric writers such as a James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. If we look around, you will see remnants of the past bubbling up from the surface, to our current reality becoming something beautiful, albeit, through pain and anguish.
As we take the time to reflect on the impact of Black Panther, let us add this to the list of growing springboards that have the power to give us a voice even louder than before.