Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Black Panther vs 1915’s Birth of a Nation

Marvel's Black Panther
Our Beautiful Black Future
Happy Tuesday, CHN friends!

Did you see Black Panther?!?! We did!

What a movie!

Black Panther has the potential to be as consequential a film as 1915’s Birth of a Nation. Just as that film wrote the cinematic narrative for the relentless portrayal of Black people as sub-human, Black Panther has opened the door to a new narrative that portrays Black people as fully human beings.

With a cast of extraordinarily beautiful Black women and men from across the African Diaspora delivering magnificent performances, and a script that is thought-provoking, funny, and inspiring, with many lines that really hit the spot for us as Black people, Black Panther is a fantastic movie.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate all these beautiful Black actors. I am blinded by the beauty, where are my SHADES?!?!"
Black Panther has set the stage for a new era in film history--one in which Black people might routinely create movies that show Black life and culture in all its richness and complexity. For that, the film’s producers, writers, director, and actors deserve the deepest thanks of all Black people.

In the words of Marcus Garvey:
In one fell swoop, Black Panther gives us a glimpse of both that history and that future. It invites us to think about the possibilities of creating a Wakanda-like existence for ourselves and our children.

The movie creates a beautiful world for Black people to inhabit—a world that helps us imagine what our lives as Africans could have been had it not been for the great European disruption of nearly 600 years ago. Black Panther makes us long for that world and may, in so doing, encourage us to do the long-overdue work necessary to empower us to create that world.
Garvey said that in order to create the beautiful future that is our destiny, we must “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery.” We must free ourselves from the poisonous lie that Whiteness is superior to Blackness.

The urgent question implicit in Black Panther is this: Why is it that the fictional world of Wakanda stands alone as a symbol of Black preeminence, and why is it that in this real world that we live in today, there is no Black country like Wakanda?

This is no accident. For nearly 600 years, we Black people have been living our lives according to a narrative written for us by Europeans to serve their economic interests. In their narrative, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, everything Black is “ugly and evil,” and everything White is “pure, high and clean.” This narrative is grounded in the lies of White superiority and Black inferiority and was created to justify the enslavement of African people and the economic exploitation of Africa, the richest continent on the face of the earth.

The European narrative created a hierarchy of humanity with White people at the top and Black people at the bottom and sometimes even outside of the circle of humanity. These lies convinced the world that nothing good comes out of Africa and that Black people are not as beautiful, intelligent, lovable, capable, worthy or valuable as White people. These lies objectified, commodified, and dehumanized people of African ancestry.
As a result, for almost a millennium, all over the world, the advantages conferred by “Whiteness” and the disadvantages imposed by “Blackness” have been multiplying. This is why, all around the world, Black communities are under-developed and Black lives do not matter as much as White lives.

Once we see how this narrative, grounded in lies, has been shaping our lives, we can begin the intentional and systematic work of rejecting it, in favor a narrative that we write for ourselves—a narrative grounded in the truth of our dignity and humanity as people of African ancestry.

Racism against Black people stands on a foundation built by the lies of White superiority and Black inferiority. The characters in Black Panther evince no sense of being inferior to anyone. That is a big part of what makes it such a beautiful movie.

It is also what could make it a great impetus for what the global Black community needs most right now: a movement for emotional emancipation, a movement to free all people of African ancestry from the lies –once and for all. 

Join Community Healing Network in creating a Wakanda-like world in which Black people are free not only in body, but also in mind and spirit-- a world in which Black people everywhere have moved beyond surviving to flourishing.

Let us know what you think! Tune in every tuesday for Let’s Talk Tuesdays.

  -Enola G. Aird, Founder and President

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