The New Narrative - Black Panther Review - Part One

February 19, 2018

 

This first of three blogs is my shortest blog to date. No setup. No conflicting narrative. No major antithesis to prepare the way for the thesis. No real research. Today's blog will discuss the entertainment response to the film Black Panther. Part Two (Thursday, February 22nd) will discuss whether entertainment is "just entertainment" and how society is shaped by our response. Part Three (Monday, February 26) will discuss a militant versus moderate perspective of social justice.

 

After watching Marvel’s Black Panther this weekend, did it inspire you? What was your take away from the Hollywood Blockbuster? If you were like most of us, you were in eager anticipation for over a year. You purchased (or brought out of the closet) some type African garment, or simply, wore black. You streamed into theatres in community, school and even church groups. The marketing narrative made Black Panther our moment at the box office!

 

 

Black Panther was iconic for many reasons. A heroic, black, leading actor. An intelligent, strong and compassionate supporting actress. An all-star supporting cast, with a major message of loyalty, honor and conviction baptized with tension and suspense. All this without sexual under and overtones or the constant use of explicit language. To the millions of blacks who saw it, it was a cultural statement. Within a real-life backdrop of political dysfunction, racial disparity and social instability, this movie reminded us of the pedigree, prosperity and potential of the African. 

 

With this said, after such a high-caliber display of African-American talent and a treasure trove of family and cultural talking points, what legitimate expectations should we have of African-American actors and actresses going forward? What should we demand of Hollywood as they release movies representing us and our culture? Which “so-called” black movies should we boycott and which should we support? 

 

Is it easy for us to return to movies that glorify the images police officers consciously or unconsciously use to justify violence against us? Should we return to movies that inaccurately portray black women as objects for control and not partners to love, lead and learn from? Should we return to movies that inaccurately portray black men as ignorant, angry, silly or just plain violent? How can we continue to participate in the success of movies that give us a pocket-sized message of value but an overdose of relational, social and family dysfunction?

 

In a time where racial and social disparity are near the boiling point, the iconic and historic portrayal of Africans in Black Panther should become the new standard; it’s the new narrative. 

 

·      If we are truly moved by what we saw…

·      If we are truly inspired…

·      If the photos of kids looking up to the pop-up display really meant anything…

·      If entertainment is a tool to shape our narrative…

 

...then, let’s create and support entertainment content that glorifies the virtues of our past, present and future while ignoring entertainment that attempts to glorify the worst…no matter how funny, suspenseful or sensual. What would keep you from embracing this idea? Post your brief comments below and I'll respond to the first 50. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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