Can a middle aged white lady book a flight to Wakanda?

Can she feel the same kind of pride in Black Panther that she feels about sharing a genome with Olympic athletes?

Black Panther won the gold, in every sense of the word. (Why was anyone surprised by the boffo box office?)

Ryan Coogler and team used the standard ingredients of all super-hero movies — barroom brawl, car chase, romantic complication, sidekicks, imaginative weaponry, dashes of humor– and cooked up something magical (those purple flower-pods) and mythic (the Garden of Eden and Cain and Abel). More than that, they invented a stunning counter-history of the world by showing us what an uncolonized Africa might have looked like. An Africa whose natural resources (Vibranium= diamonds) were never plundered, whose arts and culture were never belittled as “primitive.” The creators of Black Panther conjured an honest to goodness Marvel ™ which is working real-life wonders on the imaginations of Black and Brown people (children especially), and on the consciences of a lot of white folks (I hope.)

Am I giving too much credit to a Hollywood franchise?

Is my Black Panther crush a form of cultural appropriation? Is it a mere bagatelle of American capitalism? Is it a heartfelt reaction to a work of art that not only delights but also inspires creativity and unleashes energy? Is it all of the above?

Can a middle aged white lady buy a claw necklace – if she promises never to wear it in public?

Is Black Panther fandom what Robin Thede means when she signs off on “The Rundown,” her late-night TV comedy show, by saying, “Whatever color you are, stay black”?

Who wants to go see A Wrinkle in Time with me?








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