Black Panther, Marvel Comics latest superhero movie has been long awaited by many eager to see a representation of themselves as powerful heroes on the big screen. And the movie did not disappoint in that regard. For children and perhaps even more so for Black adults not used to seeing themselves positively and strongly represented, Black Panther gives us just what we want and need.
As I sat engrossed in the film I realized that something else was happening on the big screen. I was watching a film about Black people from different parts of the world who were all connected to each other. There was a global perspective woven throughout the film that is often ignored in mainstream movies. This story wasn’t told from a White or American perspective but from a Black perspective of a fictional African country.
Chimamanda Adichie expertly explains how our perspectives and understanding of ourselves and others depends upon the stories that we are told. The stories throughout Black Panther are human and intricate and bring a different view of the complexities of loyalty, heroes, and villains.
Black Panther is much more than a movie to inspire Black audiences. It’s a challenge to understand stories and people beyond the one-dimensional lens we’re used to learning about. This movie, especially at this point in time, is an opportunity to comprehend and appreciate the importance of people and characters who are self-defined rather than other-defined.