— Blavity (@Blavity) February 16, 2018
The Spousal Unit and I intend to make one of our rare forays to see this in an actual movie theatre. Just not this weekend, cuz we’re old and not good with crowds. (And there will *be* crowds — quite possibly our local chains are already sold out.) Herewith some links to stuff about the movie that y’all might find interesting.
NO SPOILERS, okay?
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) February 15, 2018
The first movie I remember seeing in a theater had a black hero. Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams, didn’t have any superpowers, but he ran his own city. That movie, the 1980 Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back, introduced Calrissian as a complicated human being who still did the right thing. That’s one reason I grew up knowing I could be the same.
If you are reading this and you are white, seeing people who look like you in mass media probably isn’t something you think about often. Every day, the culture reflects not only you but nearly infinite versions of you—executives, poets, garbage collectors, soldiers, nurses and so on. The world shows you that your possibilities are boundless. Now, after a brief respite, you again have a President.
Those of us who are not white have considerably more trouble not only finding representation of ourselves in mass media and other arenas of public life, but also finding representation that indicates that our humanity is multifaceted. Relating to characters onscreen is necessary not merely for us to feel seen and understood, but also for others who need to see and understand us. When it doesn’t happen, we are all the poorer for it…
Derek Robertson, at Politico, “How the Quietly Radical ‘Black Panther’ Took Over Hollywood”:
… [I]f you’ve been on the internet at any point over the past 12 months, you’ve likely noticed the intensifying hype around that hero’s upcoming film, the 18th in Marvel Studios’ endless procession of world-beating blockbusters. With a nostalgist in the White House who seems to relish sticking his finger in the country’s open wound of racial grievance, it’s easy to understand why a big-budget, black-directed superhero film featuring an almost entirely black cast would be cause for celebration. But its appeal doesn’t lie solely in backlash. Black Panther may have never sold as many copies as Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk, but the series’ history and politics are as rich and unique as either, if not more so—and they explain how this moment helped poise a formerly second-string hero to shatter box-office records…
The cultural critic Mark Dery coined the term “Afrofuturism” in a 1993 essay, referring to the loosely defined common characteristics of black science fiction in art spanning from Sun Ra’s experimental jazz to the novels of Octavia Butler. Author and UCLA professor Tananarive Due recently described its unique function in the African diaspora as a “reimagining of race, racial constructs, history … and liberation themes, through what we call a speculative lens.” Black Panther, both the comic series and the film, falls squarely on this continuum, as has been noted in several features leading up to the movie’s release. Due, on a recent podcast appearance, discussed Afro-futurism’s galvanizing effect in providing representations of black “power, technological prowess, courage, family [and] community.”
The upcoming film is the most prominent example of the phenomenon thus far, directed and co-written by Fruitvale Station and Creed auteur Ryan Coogler with the full production and marketing strength of the Disney-industrial complex behind him. It pits the Panther, portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, against Erik Killmonger (portrayed by frequent Coogler collaborator Michael B. Jordan), an American rival and mercenary who aims to usurp his throne and foment a global revolution…
Zack Linly, in the Washington Post:
… The enthusiasm around “Black Panther” isn’t just about finally getting to see a mostly black action blockbuster, a milestone we should have been celebrating decades ago. It’s about being able to go to the movies without feeling like the future of black film is at stake.
Black progress in Hollywood has been slow. As long as black actors and actresses are routinely typecast and black filmmakers struggle for opportunities to go beyond the same few genres, black moviegoers will feel pressure to support any and every black production that manages to break the mold. We hold our breath hoping that box office results are strong — and if they’re not, we wonder whether another black movie will get a chance. “Black Panther,” whose record-breaking ticket pre-sales all but ensured that it will be a success, is an exception. We don’t have to root for it to win. We can just watch the movie…
Also, even before its release, Black Panther was pissing off all the Right people…
— G. Scott Shand (@GScottShand) February 13, 2018
Conservative commentators who feel compelled to do pissy takes on Black Panther are well aware of who their audience is and what they expect from them.
— Schooley (@Rschooley) February 14, 2018
All that being said, if you’ve seen it already: Whacha think?
— Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) February 16, 2018