One love. Is it love? From Bob Marley spreading love through his Rastafarian Reggae music to the people of the world urging to just let bygones be bygones, a superhero movie became the superhero message we needed. It only took thousands of years. In the 21st century, racism still runs rampant. Everyday you see it. You feel it. You hear it. Except, in February 2018, Black Panther changed the way moviegoers saw the world.
“Love, let’s talk about love. Is it anything and everything you hoped for? Or do you feel it haunt you? I know the feeling haunt you.”
It shouldn’t have taken a Marvel Studios release in the dead center of February to bring our inadequacies to light. It shouldn’t have taken a soundtrack highlighted by a rapper to bring music to the forefront for sending out messages. It shouldn’t have taken box office money to bring recognition. It shouldn’t have taken a seven category, Oscar nominated movie to bring out the best in all people, of all color, of all races. But it did.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend I haven’t judged someone based on color, gender, religious belief, living situation, or anything else that shouldn’t matter, before. Extremely rare, but I have, unfortunately. But to sit here and tell you that I don’t stand up for what’s right, would be a lie. To say that I don’t condone fighting for human rights (kneeling or not), would be a lie. Rage on.
When Black Panther was released (on “lovely” February 14th, no less) I was as amped as could be for a movie release. The month of the release (Black History Month) and the cast (almost entirely African American) weren’t exactly unnoticed. Those two things weren’t lost on me and I showed the ultimate respect by claiming it to be the movie of the year the moment it ended. True story.
I also claimed one of the songs off the soundtrack, “All The Stars,” as the song of the year. I’m no critic, and certainly don’t pretend to be, but one year later, I’m still watching Black Panther and I’m still listening to the music epic (performed by Kendrick Lamar and SZA).
“ Fuck you and all your expectations. I don’t even want your congratulations.”
And that’s fine, but the 91st Annual Academy Awards would like to dole out a few Oscars first. I’m hoping Black Panther sweeps the seven categories it has been nominated in. Every once in awhile, a movie comes out that just changes things. History is not on the side of the Wakanda flick, but today’s world could use a little shaking up. The society we live in could use a breakthrough. It could use a little more love, and a lot more acceptance.
This year will mark the 91st Academy Awards show. It took until 2002 to have both an African American male and woman win Best Actor and Actress awards (Denzel Washington and Halle Berry), respectively. Very much deserved. Both starred in excellent movies, by the way (Training Day and Monster’s Ball).
It then took until 2006 for the first hip hop group to win Best Original Song (Hard Out Here For A Pimp by Three 6 Mafia). Although Eminem won previously in 2003 with “Lose Yourself,” the Oscar’s still were scarce to find relevance in diverse music and movies and makeup when it came to handing out awards. It wasn’t even a black or white issue, as big budget, blockbuster, superhero movies weren’t getting the recognition some rightly deserved. Black Panther changed that.
“I want the credit if I’m losing or I’m winning. On my momma, that’s the realest shit.”
Consider it done, Kendrick. Consider it done, SZA. Consider it done, Ryan Coogler. Consider it done, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Guirira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker. Except, you are winning. Every single one of you. I will be the first to champion you in your respective craft.
I felt compelled to write this article because the impact this movie and the soundtrack had on me. I’ve always been a fan of the culture, the history, the fight, the pride. Everything embodied. Not a day goes by where we see such hate in today’s world, and I ask myself, “Why?” Why must people act the way they do? Why must we tear each other down? Why must we judge, on things that have no bearing to our own life or own actions? Let the kings be kings, and the queens be queens. And conversely, let the peasants be peasants. It’s their loss, not the world’s.
Come Sunday, February 24, 2019, I hope the Academy sees what I saw. I hope they feel what I felt. I hope they cheer what I cheered. And I hope you all do as well. Wakanda Forever.
“This may be the night that my dreams might let me know. All the stars are closer. All the stars are closer.”