Why Wakanda Matters
On Thursday, February 15th, I went up to Harlem for the first time in weeks. I used to live in Harlem, but when you relocate to Brooklyn, trips to Harlem become few and far between. Long metro ride... Multiple borough transit.. It's just a lot. But this particular Thursday I was excited and honored to do it. My buddy Wayne had hit me up a few days earlier to ask me if I had plans to see Black Panther. In typical Pisces procrastinator fashion, I had a huge desire to go, but no plans in place to see it. And so he made my whole year and offered me a ticket to go see Black Panther at an advanced screening in Harlem with five other friends
After seeing the movie I tried to post pictures from the night to my Instagram several times. And, oddly, several times my posts were taken down. I even got involved in an IG discussion about African economic empowerment, where I said something along the lines of "a United Africa could and should thrive-- the economic advantages of loosened border security far outweigh the potential security risks." (I say all of that with the full confidence of a man who's taken three undergrad Political Science courses, and who has zero experience in international security. #FakeItTilYouMakeIt) A relevant and important conversation, right? And yet Instagram removed my comment and cited community standards violation as the cause... So... just to be clear, talking positively about a prosperous African future is violating to the community. Let that marinate for a sec... Here's a friendly reminder folks: the man is watching, all your media is controlled, and the agenda is still anti-African empowerment.
That said, I loved the movie. And I eventually was able to post about watching the movie. Here were the thoughts that Instagram found it necessary to censor several times. Let me know your thoughts!
"So much to say about #BlackPanther, but I'll leave it at this: we needed this so bad. It gets so exhausting being Black in America and seeing all of our protagonists portrayed as slaves, criminals, and cross dressers under the guise of "telling true stories." Like, I know it's just a movie, but it's not. It was a cultural experience being in Harlem (while Harlem is still, somewhat, the Harlem of old) and seeing so many Africans celebrate their culture instead of hiding it or assimilating. It was a unifying experience being surrounded by Black Americans embracing their African heritage. It was a healing experience to hear XHOSA being spoken on the big screen instead of just in my home, to witness the world hearing the language that sometimes embarrassed me when friends came over because it was "different." It's just a movie, but it's not. It's a glimpse into possibility and has filled my sails as I and MANY others foray into the storm that is positive African representation in pop culture. We needed it so bad."