The film that’s breaking records all over the world and it’s only been 3 months.
A film that I’ve gone to see 4 times in the cinema now and still amazed at how many other people are still going to see it.
A film that is shown in Saudi Arabia after 35 years of no cinema. A film that knocks Titanic from third spot in top grossing film of all time in the USA!
What makes his film so special?
Well to be honest I can answer this question be recounting the scenes I saw as I left the cinema on all four occasions. I saw little black girls with their dads both so enthused and excited and empowered after watching a film that’s cast is made up of characters that was so close to the appearance and personality of family members and friends that they knew. It was a film that reminded them about the power and magic within them. It reminded them that black is beautiful. It reminded them on working on yourself to be the best first and then sharing your best qualities with others to help make each other better. It reminded them that beauty is not one singular look. That masculinity doesn’t have one notion. That it’s ok to feel and love. That in this current day it’s interesting finding the balance between tradition and new age living. Keeping your ties with your history while making your own.
The ties and links to the black community are strong and deep and I could write a long post about it and explain it in a way to make it easy for all to understand. But for me the beauty of the black history and community that I have experienced is it’s great to hear these things through conversations with family members or friends. I’ve not learnt much of my black history from school or blog post but first from family and friends before I then looked at their recommend books and websites to find out more about my history. The history that’s hidden from most of the world. Being a teacher at first I hated that black history is hardly mentioned in 12 years of history curriculum as they say it shouldn’t be a history divided by colour. But as time has gone on I’ve come to have an appreciation for this. I prefer the black history to be taught through family conversations rather than facts in class. The family conversations keep the emotion. Keep the connection and give us a greater sense of identity.
Black Panther for me did this. It passed on facts about colonisation and slavery hat made people from a similar background head nod and at times chuckle like a joke only we got. While a white friend of mine who I saw it with was oblivious to these mentions. And I’ve noticed with this film there have been different types of white viewers that I’m putting into two categories for ease.
1- The ones that miss those comments (for many reasons whether it be they just haven’t been exposed to it so disregard it or they just don’t want to open the box of uncomfortable history)
2- The ones that did notice and went on to research further the roots of the comments. ( Best example was a little white girl no older than 8 during my first showing asking her parents innocently what is a coloniser. They were shocked and uncomfortable but provided to google it on their phone)
The second person I hope goes out from the cinema and does some research into black history further than Rosa parks, MLK, Malcom X etc. And look at the facts of slavery, the soldiers during the wars, immigration (especially Windrush!*). I especially hope that it pushes the British viewers to research everything properly. Get minds informed and understanding of each other.
In one. Black Panther is an epic film as it inspires, educates, informs, makes you laugh, makes you curious but also hits a nerve you didn’t know you had. It has and will continue to make history it’s just important that we don’t let this film nor its effect only be momentary.
*At the time of writing this the Windrush scandal had not hit the front page and wasn’t on the news cycle. Crazy how things change over the three weeks from first draft to publish!