Black Panther: I watched the Avengers Endgame on April 27th 2019, a little over a year after The Black Panther Movie came out. This is a re-published post that I wrote after I watched The Black Panther on 15 February 2018. Here are my take-home points from the movie, the energy, and the general hype surrounding the movie.
1. There is no end to creativity, and creative energy: Don’t be afraid to try to create something new. As Mark Randolph said: “Nobody knows what is going to work in advance. The only way to figure out if it’s a good idea or not is by taking a risk. Stop thinking. Stop planning. Do something.” What is that idea that you have been sitting on, and, just because it is your idea, you downplay it. Invest in your ideas. Invest in your creativity.
2. Timing is important: I think this movie came at the right time. At this time in the US, certain “societal deviancies” which were in some circles, thought to be gone, have come bubbling to the surface. While of course, the movie cannot solve societal problems, The Black Panther movie gives us a great Utopian dream that is a break from some of the sad realities that we are facing as a society. Your dreams and goals also have a timing attached to them. Pay attention to the right time to do things, as you cannot do everything at once.
3. Pursue your dreams relentlessly. If you know that there is something that keeps you awake at night, that comes to you in the quiet moments, that won’t let you go, that is your life’s work… Chase after it with all your might. Be prepared to surmount every obstacle. Be ready to overcome fear or do it afraid. Nothing big ever started big. Long after inspiration and motivation are gone, perseverance with patience and passion will win the day. Black Panther was written as a comic book in 1966. It was a radical move for its time. Today it is a critically acclaimed, billion dollar movie!
4. Representation is important: I took my children to see this movie because one of my daughters expressed in passing that she had never seen so many African-Americans in one movie (from the previews). Representation is important. I took that for granted because I grew up in a country where everyone looks like me. Although I know the power of representation, it really hit home, the realization that my children should see themselves represented in every facet of life. The fulfillment of your dream could mean representation for someone else. I know that there are people who do what they do because they look at me and say: “If she can do it, so can I”.
5. Be yourself: Keep being yourself. All of a sudden, because of Black Panther, being African is the new “cool”. From the days of being called “an African booty scratcher” or being asked if we live in trees, or have tigers as pets, we have come a long way. Now people seem to be more accepting of things that appear “African”. When people see something new at first, they may look at it with suspicion. Over time, however people learn, and become more open. Don’t keep trying to change who you are and order to be acceptable, because one day, people will come around. Even if they don’t, you would still have lived in your authentic best. Be yourself, your BEST self.
6. Teamwork really does make the dream work: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together. It was amazing to see all the collaborations that had to happen to make the Black Panther movie one of Marvel Studios’ biggest box office successes. No one makes it alone. There is no such thing as a self made man. Do not be afraid to collaborate with others in the fulfillment of your dream. Do not be hesitant to hire people, speak to mentors, ask questions, and share your vision (with the right people of course).
7. There will always be opposition: Even if you express an opinion as bland as “water is wet”, people will still oppose you. No matter how great you are, you will have naysayers. As seemingly perfect and utopian that Wakanda was, they still faced opposition. Opposition is not always bad for us, and is not always wrong. Some opposition we ignore, some of it we fight, and some of it we just learn from. These three approaches to opposition played out very strongly in the movie.
8. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown: With every new level of life, comes new challenges. The key is to accept those challenges for what they are, and do the best you can. Sometimes, we run from higher levels of calling, purpose, responsibility, money, and success, because we are scared of the challenges that come with the next level. The thing is that these fears are subconscious, and until we unpack and deal with them, we will stay stuck in a place that we really do not want to be. Lack of confidence and fear of success lead to self sabotage. As the King Of Wakanda, the Black Panther had to make so many hard decisions, but he handled them with grace.
9. There is not one standard of beauty: How many people, think that there is only one way to be beautiful, especially women and girls (Men too! Did you see the young man who injected concrete and silicone into his arms because he wanted to look “muscular“?). When I google “beautiful woman” only after about 60 images do I see anyone who looks like me! Google handsome man, and even Idris Elba takes almost 30 pictures to pop up. Most people I know, black or white, do not look anything like the first 100 pictures that pop up. The average size of an American woman is size 14. Even the average white American women is not blonde. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and comes in all shapes, colors, sizes, hairstyles, temperaments, genders, etc. In this movie, we saw the beauty in all skin tones, hair types (including no hair), body shapes, etc. What do beauty standards have to do with our dreams? I am glad you asked. You see, sometimes we do not show up as powerfully as we should because we feel we don’t “look the part”. We are overweight, we have an accent, we are not white, our name doesn’t sound right, etc, etc. Remember that you are just fine for your position in the world! If Oprah had waited until she was “skinny enough” no one would have heard of her today!
10. My favorite characters in the movie are General Okoye (female); and Mbaku (male).