Black Panther; Star Wars for black people?
I have seen Black Panther. Ta-Nehisi Coates was right that this was Star Wars for black people. The question is whether Africans at home and the Diaspora see this the same way.
Despite being dazzled by its technology and artistry, I am saddened by the movie and its impact on blacks.
First, let's stop high-fiving one another about its portrayal of Africa. This was pure fantasy.
The character was created in Comics by Lee and Kirby in 1966-- a half-century ago. Since then, Africa has not grown any closer to the ideal it portrays. If anything, half a century after Nkrumah rallied us to the banner of an Africa that could rival the world in Addis Ababa, we have fallen further behind. It brought home painfully, the gap between what is and what could have been.
It is disappointing that in seeking historic inspiration for King T'Challa, Director Coogler looked to Shakespeare's Hamlet. A better African model of a king uncomfortable with power and its ruthlessness would have been Prempeh I of Ashanti. The night before he was captured by the British at a meeting in Kumasi, he agonized, Hamlet-like about whether to fight or submit to capture. In the end, he chose the latter to preserve his kingdom.
The burial of the dead monarch was really lame. The Ashantis, Yorubas, the Zulus and a few others could have given them lessons on how to bury an African monarch properly.
Next, the celebration of the enstoolment of King T'Challa was UNAFRICANLY tame. There should have been a big FEAST featuring Jollof, Fufu and goat or elephant soup, Eba and Yoke Gari, to mention only a few delicacies. It was one area where Africa's greatness could have been showcased without exaggeration.
Then the movie ended with the biggest diss to Africa of them all-- Wakanda ignored Africa and went to the West with Vibranium! Now, that should upset every African. King T'Challa should have shared his secret with the rest of Africa first, before reaching out to the rest of the World. That would have been consistent with the ethos and demands of African unity. By going to the rest of the world, he betrayed Africa.
God bless Africa.