There are times when to understand or appreciate something so genuinely exceptional, you have to had witnessed the absolute worse. There is no question the lack of representation of black people in high profile roles in Hollywood has been as of late, well documented. By the year 2016, only 32 African Americans have even won an Oscar, and only four times was it for leading Actor and only once for best actress.
Perhaps only one time was any of those performances a person of color in a positive role.
For years’ movie studios and directors have insulted black people but only including one “token” black, who consequently was usually killed off fairly early on in the film. It was like a prank, so noticeable that seems to be in a “How to make a movie handbook.”
Sometimes making matters worse, trying to write black characters with no advisory or influence of actual black people. So they spoke in jive, with a bad attitude.
As of late, in the era of transparency thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and the fine people in social media land, we are beginning to see studios become more socially inclined and culturally sensitive.
Mainly for fear of viral backlash and losing money, but hey, it’s progress, so we will take it.
So, why is it all hail the King, with the anticipation of The Black Panther hitting the box office? Because we have witnessed the worse already, in the form of Shaq as Steel, Spawn, and though Blade is black and at least acceptable, he’s a vampire.
FINALLY, we have proper black representation in Chadwick Bosman as the Black Panther. He is intelligent and educated, without autism being the reason why like Billy in the latest Power Rangers reboot. He is smooth without being hyper-sexual or misogynistic. He is a leader, and a king, he probably the closest thing to a black 007 we will get for a while.
This is such a big deal because not only are we tired of not being able to identify in a positive way with the way we are projected in film and TV, but we are also tired of not having heroes for our children, nieces, and nephews to have that look like them. Talk like them. Now we do.
This is a such a big deal for everyone who is not black because now maybe they will see it’s possible to show a side of black people that is not Love in hip-hop and that it’s attractive and marketable. Maybe we’ll get a show like stranger things featuring majority black kids. Maybe we can be good guys and win awards, maybe black women can stay fully dress and win an Oscar. Maybe all good black movies will not have to be slave related. Because finally a movie so big, coming from a studio like Disney and Marvel changing the narrative on the type of stories that can be told and the character arches that can be taken will open people eyes. It is so fitting that this historic endeavor is through the vein of the comic book movie genre, with it being the biggest block-buster movies on the last decade aside from Star Wars. Not only is the first solo film focusing entirely on a largely-black cast not to mention a host of incredible black female characters used for more than eye candy and rescuing. It is also one of few if any movie that presents an African nation with privilege and prestige in Wakanda. The icing on the chocolate cake is thatit'ss helmed by a black director in Ryan Coogler. Director of Creed who is from Oakland. He’s like a real brother and he is the director of a Marvel Studios movie.
One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful, moving, and thematically resonant films to date.
So heck yeah this movie is a big deal, and most of Black Americans understand it. We understand that we do not get a redo if Black Panther was to be a critical failure or underperform. We do not have the luxury other white actor lead roles have no matter how many times it bombs they will still make James Bond movies. They will still make Superman movies.
But with us, we get few opportunities of this size and we will not forfeit it. This is why Black history is about more than history, but about those black men and women making history now. With a cast that includes Chadwick Boseman, who will cement himself as the title character alongside people like RDJ as Iron, Huge Jackman as Wolverine and Chris Evans of Captain America. Along for the ride is Creed star Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira playing Okoye.
Nakia played by Lupita Nyong'o and Angela Bassett plays the mother of Black Panther, Ramonda. Not to mention Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya and Oscar award winner Forest Whitaker. This is the all-black cast we deserve. To ensure we get this more consistent basis lets show out and put on. #WakandaForever