Imagine bumping into your biggest most beloved celebrity. Yup, in all their glory, but just when you get close to them and you experience their full presence and awesomeness, you suddenly lose your ability to speak, so all you can do is stare. And I’m not talking about the I-am-too-shocked-to-speak loss of speech, no, I’m talking about legit-loss-of-functional-vocal-cords kind of muteness. So you can’t even react to seeing your favourite celebrity and thus they just walk on by. To make it worse, you cannot even tell your friends or anyone you know about it, because you suddenly cannot speak! Can you imagine the amount of restlessness, agitation, and devastation you would be feeling?! Well, that is what it has been like for the last 10 days. I was super-duper lucky to be among the ones who got to see Black Panther when it premiered in Kenya on February 10th! But we were requested not to talk about it, nor give spoilers or reviews, until after it was released for everybody else to watch. It goes without saying, that the movie was out of this world- both literally and figuratively. I. Absolutely. Loved. It. And here are ten reasons why I did:
(I guess I should also mention that there are a few spoilers ahead, they were necessary. But I also feel if you haven’t watched the movie, the spoilers will really really make you want to watch it!)
- The Representation of Africa
It’s not just about having a lot of African cultures represented in the movie, it’s the way they made them normal and not-weird at all in the middle of all that was happening in the film. Africans were just chilling, enjoying being black, living their lives in their own way, and it was all very civilized and just right. I also loved that you could see and feel Africa in their hairstyles, their clothes, their names and their accent. All that in a MARVEL PRODUCTION! How cool was that! Which brings me to my next point…
- How People Embraced the Movie
Despite how very African and how different Black Panther is from just about every other Hollywood superhero movie, people all over the world fully embraced it! I was honestly surprised at how everybody was so cool with it. I mean, people around the world were dressing up in vitenges and dashikis to go watch the movie; so many individuals changing their social media names to African names; dance groups all over the world pulling out those amazing African moves; and everyone with even the slightest of African origins proudly shouting it out to the world, claiming it. I am here for all that! It was refreshing. Again, I am extremely happy that African fashion and style, was appreciated worldwide due to this movie, because, let’s face it, African fashion is beautiful, creative, and one of a kind. It’s high time it got the spotlight.
- Women Kicked Ass!
Can we just take a moment to appreciate how amazing women were portrayed in this movie. No seriously, take a moment. Queen Ramonda, T’Challa’s mom, was just so regal, loyal, and remarkable in her own way. Dora Milaje, the all-women warriors that protected the throne, led by General Okoye, kicked major ass I tell you. And they looked the part! Shuri, T’Challa’s sister was smart, super funny, beautiful, and a science genius! And c’mon, those panther gauntlet canons were so kick-ass! And of course, Nakia, T’Challa’s (ex?) girlfriend, working undercover to help the Kingdom of Wakanda by exposing- and kicking the asses of- the bad guys everywhere. I mean even Killmonger’s girlfriend, whose name I don’t remember, was kinda bad-ass despite supporting the bad guys. No really, did she have a name in the movie? I legit don’t remember. Anyways, my point is, women were not just portrayed as baby-giving, food-cooking, house-cleaning beings, but, people who played a big role in shaping the future of Wakanda.
- STEM and Girls
It goes without saying, the STEM field is still a male-dominated field, and most things Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, are often attributed to boys and men. But not in Black Panther it wasn’t. Despite her age and gender –I hope the world paid close attention here- Shuri was the one who was in charge of the technology in Wakanda, and the one who designed the weapons and Black Panther’s suits, created virtual cars and jets, fixed broken bodies, and everything else technology-related ingenious inventions. You go girl! I’m sure that was inspirational to all the young girls out there. For a moment there, she made me feel very proud to have studied Biotechnology in the university. Whether that paid off or not here in my country however, is another matter we may discuss another time.
- Tackled Issues Happening in Africa
For those who didn’t get it, that scene at the beginning where Nakia, Okoye, and T’Challa rescued those Muslim girls that had been kidnapped, paid homage to the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Rarely do Hollywood movies tackle issues and tragedies that happen in Africa. I can’t count the number of times I have watched a movie and read a book related to the 9/11 attack, or Hitler. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to lessen the magnitude of these tragedies; all I’m saying is, it’s nice to see our matters put forward and given some significance. Trust me, other than slavery, Africa has also historically been the recipient of all sorts of calamities that ought to be mentioned and ostracized as often as any Western-related tragedy. In addition to the Boko Haram in Nigeria, we had the wars in Congo, the genocide in Rwanda, apartheid in South Africa, the post-election violence in Kenya, the massive mudslide in Sierra Leone, the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola, the bomb attacks in Somalia, just to name a few. Hollywood, the ball is in your court.
- Supportive and Mutually Beneficial Relationships
We have been exposed to too many abusive and destructive relationships on screen, and it was nice to watch relationships that worked very well. You cannot fail to see how T’Challa related with his father, mother, sister, girlfriend, his army and people. The respect, loyalty and thoughtfulness that was shown in many of the relationships in the Black Panther was just lovely. I mean even M’Baku came through. The dedicated way he led his people, the affectionate way he talked about his kids, and even though he had beef with T’Challa and the kingdom, he helped him get back his throne. Go watch the movie if you haven’t and see what I’m talking about!
Did anyone else feel all giddy inside when W’Kabi surrendered that time Okoye stood between his war rhino and M’Baku, protecting the leader of the Jabari Tribe from being trampled on? At least W’Kabi respected her enough to publicly surrender, especially since they were in a relationship. I wouldn’t want to imagine what would have happened if W’Kabi had let his pride dictate his actions during that scene. Also, come to think of it, would Okoye and M’Baku just make the perfect couple! Okay, he mentioned having children, but did you hear him talk about a wife? Me neither. Plus he probably meant his army ‘children’. Whatever. #OkoyeForJabariTribeFirstLady
- The Visual Effects, Scenery and Action Scenes
Everything about the Kingdom of Wakanda was just popping. The beautiful landscapes and waterfalls, gorgeous gorges, the towering buildings, the virtual cars, the war jets, the hyperloop train, the architecture in the middle of mountains, Black Panther’s suit, the large rhinos… Plus those action scenes were so good. The fight between Killmonger and the Dora Milaje, between Killmonger and T’Challa, between W’Kabi’s men and M’Baku’s men, the Challenge scenes, Nakia fighting, Shuri shooting away using her vibranium blasting gauntlets, and the popular car-chase scene where that car flipped then Black Panther did a perfect somersault and landed on the car Shuri was driving. Aaaaahhh I was at the edge of my seat in most parts of the movie!
You see where I’m going with this right? There was nothing to hate!
- The Collaboration of Different Nations
When the Kingdom of Wakanda and T’Challa’s throne was at stake, everybody (okay maybe not everybody, because W’Kabi had to go and betray his bestfriend) put their differences aside and fought together for the greater good. Jabari tribe, the Dora Milaje, the flighty adventure-loving spy Nakia, laboratory-lover Shuri, even Agent Ross- who was CIA, played a part to save Wakanda. I even liked the Korean fisherwoman who gave entrance to T’Challa’s crew into the hidden casino in Busan, after some convincing from Nakia. I loved all that. This world of ours has enough for everyone, and we can pretty much live in harmony. Tribal wars, racial wars, political wars, nuclear-weapon threats, inter-continental feuds, are –most of the time- pointless.
- Appreciating Black Talent
Black Panther was a movie with so many amazing black actors that did me proud. Plus the film director was Ryan Coogler, and he co-wrote it with Joe Robert Cole, who is also a Producer. It’s not often that you see excellent, successful and popular creations and opportunities related to black creatives in Hollywood. Eat that Hollywood! Let’s hope that going forward, the Oscars and other film Awards will be a lot more colourful with their nominations.
- Chadwick Boseman.
Yes, I love him.