There’s a lot of things to get hyped up about this February, what with the Winter Olympics, a Tesla Roadster headed off toward Mars, and Mardi Gras celebrations throughout the world, but few things have been as fervently anticipated as the premiere of the newest Marvel superhero film, Black Panther.
There’s so much excellence going into this film that I am incredibly excited to see it. I can only begin to get a glimmer of how much this must mean to the Black community. On top of a whole cast of POC in featured roles, beautiful cinematography that properly lights all the skin tones of its actors (for the startling history on why this is an issue, start here), and celebrating a vibrant, joyful, enlightened culture in an (albeit fictional) African nation, we get a soundtrack produced by Kendrick Lamar highlighting established and up-and-coming black hip hop and R&B artists.
In the official trailer, we hear snippets of the famous Gil Scott-Heron 1971 track “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“, a seminal call to arms to participate, to pay attention, to do thing that needs to be done NOW. In the context of the Black Panther trailer, I hear it as a call-out to all the times media and culture have said to the disenfranchised, ‘not now, we’re not ready for that, let’s take some time to think about this from all sides’. But the BP movie is not waiting any longer. It’s about time Marvel featured a black superhero that was more than a sidekick or side character. It’s about time they weren’t the only one in the film, but existed in a backdrop of their own vibrant, colorful environment.
There are plenty of haters out there, trying childish things to diminish the importance of this kind of representation. But that what isn’t diminished? The fact that the movie is outselling everything in pre-sale tickets, smashing records for opening day weekend before it even starts.
You might say, it’s just a superhero movie- it doesn’t solve the problems of our real world – but you’d be wrong. Representation matters. Seeing yourself represented in media means you start to think of yourself as powerful, important, valued, and most importantly, SEEN. Confidence comes with a voice, and voices speak up. The revolution will not be televised, brother. The revolution will be live.
Do you have your tickets? What about Black Panther excites you the most?