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Marvel’s “Black Panther” – A Perspective on the Perspective

Op/Ed By Wallace Mabry –


Wallace Mabry

Wallace Mabry

An enchanting film but we know the real deal. While I enjoyed the scenic beauty of the landscape, the absolute, captivating regality, strength of character and purpose, and exquisiteness (such that gives pleasure to the mind and senses) of the Black women; I was not entrapped (by any stretch of the imagination) by the visions of an independent Black nation, in the interior of Africa, in possession of a metal (vibranium) unknown to the rest of the world, which allows this Black nation to develop hover ships and other innovations without at minimum one of its citizens who has had contact with or has been influenced by western culture to be driven by the profit motive to sell the secret to a capitalist colonizer at a below market value.

And we know that once that nation’s secret has been leaked, colonizers will create conflicts within that nation that can only be resolved by the military intervention of the colonizers, and the eventual takeover of the means of production of vibranium.

Perhaps the most disturbing of all about the film is that it tends to juxtapose social history and political reality with a fictional tale. Marvel’s “Black Panther” comic book’s first print was in 1966, the same year Huey Newton and Bobby Seale co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (October 1966) in Oakland, California. The film, like the comic book series, appears to replace non-fiction with fiction and sociopolitical truths with a Black familial theme underscored by high octane entertainment based purely on imagination. And oh, yes, the FBI agent—Hoover’s COINTELPO.

I, however, applaud the fact Black actors and Black actresses (and a Black director) were employed to give, by their portrayals and directorial expertise, credence to the roles, narrative, and the landscape.

It is also tragic, to say the least, that, with all the volumes of works by legitimate historians on Ancient African Civilizations, Colonialism, Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism, and Capital Venture Economics (that go unread by millions of Black people), the publication of photograph and paintings of African women in colorful dress both on the Continent and throughout the world, the struggles for liberation of Black and African people worldwide, and the documented resilience of Black women and Black men throughout the Black-African diaspora, we are in awe of it all only when we view it cinematically on the wide-screen in movie theaters and some white critic announces it as “a defining moment of diversity.” It raises the question. Are our children being educated or propagandized?

This may well be a time for us to begin looking within ourselves to find that cultural connection, that love of selves, those defining moments, Black power, Black pride, resilience, and to view our relationships in their true relationships with each other. Only then might we be able to rise from this state we find ourselves in as a people and “spread our wings.”

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