Black Panther Delivers Cinematic Reparations

Written By | Bianca Theodore

On the premiere night of Black Panther, I saw kings and queens.

I saw chiefs leading their tribes, I saw political black panthers donned in berets and leather
jackets. I saw proud fros and bold daishikis. I saw the black collective show up and show out for
a moment that was long awaited.

I saw culture, and felt it shift.

Thanks to ingenious director Ryan Coogler, Marvel’s first black superhero movie will be a pop
culture force to be reckoned with. Armed with a formidable cast, co-signed by a TDE
soundtrack, and bought to life by a visionary crew, the movie had no choice but to be great.

Still, there were doubts. Many superhero movies have flopped before, crumbling in the face of
anticipation, like 2016’s Superman vs. Batman. There have been other diversity endeavors, like
Static Shock or the more recent Luke Cage. The space they occupied was needed and poignant,
but where they laid the foundation, Black Panther shattered the glass ceiling.

Black Twitter had long agreed to speak no ill regardless of how this movie really was, but we
should’ve known better- Black Panther earned every one of its five stars.

Because Black Panther was more than a movie; it was cinematic reparations.

Every artistic decision, nuance, and nod to culture was intentional. The trip to Wakanda, a
fictional African nation that is the most advanced in the world, was long overdue. For once, there
was not a hut in sight, and Africa got to shine like the jewel it is. Also gone was the tired trope of
damsels in distress; there were only leading ladies. They played warriors and whizkids, as
intelligent and fierce as they were beautiful in their fades, fros, and locs.

Coogler turned the Hollywood script on its head, and ensured that we got to play every dynamic
role and character usually denied us. There was even a plot twist in the form of a token white
guy, rather than the other way around (ya’ll make sure he gets a plate at the BBQ).

But amongst all that, Coogler and his writers somehow still managed to make social commentary
that was both timely and timeless. This was not your usual “get your powers, save the world, and
blow up in NYC in the process” superhero movie. The underlying message was thought
provoking, adding to the national conversation in an unexpected way. The villain is not even
who you think it is, and delivers one of the most powerful lines in the movie.

But no spoilers, because everyone needs to see this movie themselves. Otherwise, one would
actually be doing one self’s a disservice. That’s not bias; it’s fact.

Just like Black Panther is not just a movie, it is a defiant reminder of what a time it is to be alive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *