We Need to Talk About "Black Panther"

Black Panther is special in its usage of black actors in leading roles, a predominantly black supporting cast, and a black director. It shows Africa as a dominant world power instead of a third-world country like most movies and shows do. There are few movies that can define a generation, and Black Panther is that kind of a movie. It reminds you of the power of movies and storytelling, especially during an era in which our nation is so divided.

I’ve never had much of an opinion on a superhero movie. I’d always thought maybe I’ll watch it. But when I saw the trailer for Black Panther, I instantly knew I wanted to see it. After it came out, I heard raving reviews from my idols, including Yara Shahidi and Zendaya. So that made me want to go see it even more than before.

If someone had asked me how I felt when I walked out of that movie theater, I wouldn’t have known how to describe it. I was in such awe. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. I felt this overwhelming wave of pride wash over me. I felt pride in being a minority. I felt proud of the melanin in my skin. I could feel the pride running through my the veins in my blood. It felt like every fiber in my body was electrified. I remember saying to myself, “Who cares if our president is ignorant? We have the power to make the changes we desire to see.” And I remember walking to the car that night thinking about black power, brown power, female power, and God’s power to the people. I considered the power of people who fought fearlessly like Angela Davis and Black Panthers such as Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. I will never forget how I felt when I walked out of the theater that day—I had never felt like that.

This movie means everything to me. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a superhero that isn’t white; it’s the first time I related to a superhero. And the women in this movie are strong, smart, and independent. Shuri is remarkably intelligent, and Dora Milaje kicked butt and demolished anyone in her way and to protect King T’ Challa.  Dora Milaje is also in charge of the all-powerful females guards whose job consists of protecting and defending King T’ Challa. This movie reminded me that I should remember and honor my ancestors and where I came from.

By Maya Davé

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