Mostly, I’m going to keep my mouth shut in public about Black Panther. I want to leave the public opinion sharing to Black people. But, I do want to invite my white readers/peers/friends to see the movie and I want to tell you why I think you should (even if you, like me, don’t really enjoy action movies):
- Watch the movie thinking about how almost every other movie made by Hollywood is almost all white people with only minor characters who are Black. Imagine watching almost all movies almost all of the time showing almost no one looking remotely like you. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to put your feet in the shoes of Black people in a small way, while also being entertained;
- …and, related to that, it’s a glorious opportunity to just stare at Black people without feeling self-conscious or weird. We don’t get a lot of chances to do that. While it’s still a rare thing (and I’m sure you agree it shouldn’t be so rare), I think we should always take advantage of the opportunities;
- The appreciation of real African cultures comes through vibrantly, even though it’s all fictionalized. Think about how you *really* think of “African culture.” Do you place it on the same level as European history and culture? Do you even know about the massive variety of African cultures? (I don’t, but the movie helped me realize how little I know and made me curious to learn more.);
- Bring your children! and talk to them about all of these things. see what they notice on their own, see what they notice that you miss, relating to Black people in the US and racism.
I have so many, many more thoughts about the movie, but, again, I’ll keep those to my private discussions. For now, I suggest these reviews/discussions of the movie for you if you want to know more:
The reality of Blackness in the fiction of Black Panther
How the “Black Panther” Film Is “A Defining Moment for Black America”
What Would W. E. B. Du Bois Make of Black Panther?
The prison of unfounded positivity
Heart-shaped herb: Wakanda and ancestral healing
The Root’s many articles about Black Panther