Noel Ransome has a review of Black Panther on Vice. I haven’t seen it. I wasn’t familiar with the comic character. But I keep seeing these articles about how it’s an Important Thing For Black People. Wow, it even engages with decades of black liberatory theory!
Okay, this is like the problem with Mr. Robot, also quite a good show. Disney Corporation isn’t going to lead black people to freedom. Not. Even. Happening.
We don’t need to make ourselves emotionally dependent on those people.
Imagine if we gave all those millions of dollars to the cause instead of Hollywood. Ransome explains that it’s the most powerful film he’s ever seen.
It takes a certain kind of black experience to understand where I’m coming from with this—to know what it means when a guy like me tells you that he once hated his own skin. It’s what growing up dark can be like—a navigation around images, words, prejudice, and discrimination that press at the notion that your black ass ain’t shit. It’s the same “experience” that turns the history of the slave trade into negative avenues for self-identification. And it’s the same “experience” that blends moments of police brutality, “nigger” labels, and scared white ladies crossing streets into a bullshit stew of, “Thank you, sir, may I have some more?”
But is this the answer?
A top-five film for any movie buff will always be genre defining—technically and narratively. But a memorable movie is one that makes you feel something… a feeling that can stand the test of time. When I walked out of that theater after watching Black Panther, every black person I saw looked like a brother and a sister. I didn’t limit myself to the option of meeting a gaze with a stare down, or raising my chin in quiet recognition… there was just a smile on my part. My lingering self-hatred that comes and goes fell by the wayside. Instead, it was replaced with a pride, strength, and a happiness—like I woke up to something. This film showed me a possibility that no other film had—that excellence undisturbed by white intervention can and will always look beautiful. And honestly, after watching this, I felt pretty fucking beautiful.
This is a terrible indictment of activism nowadays.
Do we require the fantasy of the black ubermensch? Do we want there to be kings? Is the ideal black society like today’s industrial civilization, but higher-tech? We can be white, but more!
People look at movies and TV shows too much like naturally occurring phenomena and not enough like messages someone, usually our enemies, spent a lot of money on spreading.