Christopher Lawrence’s recent article, “Film history of black superheroes not so super,” highlights previous movies with black superheroes and the “jubilation” for the “Black Panther” movie. This prompted me to explain.
“Black Panther” is much more than just a superhero movie. It’s a glimpse of what could have been if Africans were left to their own devices. The premise of Wakanda, a country on the continent of Africa that hasn’t been ruined by European colonization — with all its wealth-producing natural resources, technology and strong male and female leadership — is like a dream come true for many of us.
The movie allows black people to imagine what our lives could and should have been if the slave trade hadn’t changed the trajectory of our history. This movie allows black people worldwide to openly and unapologetically show pride in being black, by hosting viewing parties at theaters and wearing all black. Some have made Afrocentric costumes for the expressed purpose of wearing while viewing the movie.
I’ve seen people taking selfies with the movie poster to commemorate this event because there aren’t many movies with a majority black cast and characters who look like them. This may not mean much to the majority, but the lack of representation is repressive.
There are no assurances that a movie of this magnitude that means this much will be made again. So we’re enjoying it while we can.