The Black Panther Hypesteria: A Minority Opinion, By ‘Din Shehu
No, I haven’t seen Black Panther. I have become wary of giving in to mass hypesteria over movies ever since a friend made so much song and dance over Jack Nicholson’s ‘As Good As It Gets’ that I positively believed I was missing out of an other-worldly experience. It took twenty minutes into the movie, when I finally got to see it, to realize I have been scammed into watching a snore fest.
You can then understand my reluctance in joining this ongoing craze over Black Panther. I fear it could be another scam. Much like that great herbal scam called Moringa. I’m loath to find out ‘wakanda’ movie it is: Is it worth all the hype? Is this the first movie out of Hollywood that has truthfully rendered the “African Story”? Is Black Panther the movie “ours” as pop culture aficionados want me to believe? With all these in mind, I decided to do a little background check on everything Black Panther and what I found has made my jaws set; I won’t join this craze.
Firstly, a Black Panther is actually a Leopard/Cougar or any of the ‘Big Cats’ with a genetic malfunction. Melanin-diseased cat if you like. Did you know? I would think twice before celebrating a movie made by Hollywood about an African “Superhero” conveniently named after a melanin-challenged cat. Take a pause from your Wakandan pose and think: what if the movie is Hollywood telling us we are naught but the genetic malfunction of whites, hence our dark pigment? Maybe that’s the subliminal premise of the movie; or not.
Secondly, why laud (pun intended) a movie that is to all intent and purpose, a tongue-in-cheek dig at Africa and her chronic underdevelopment? Did you know that the plot of Black Panther revolves around a fictional African State called Wakanda (Read Africa) that has developed advanced technology and civilization, courtesy of a meteorite-produced rare metal called ‘Vibranium’, but chose to exist in sorry self-deceit as a Third World country? If that isn’t a sub for Africa, I don’t know what is!
Again, how come the bad guy in the first Superhero movie set in an African context is the character, Killmonger, who was doing his level best to bring the advanced technology and civilization of the Wakandans to black people all over the world? Yea, spoiler alert: your favourite black Superhero fought tooth and claw to preserve the Wakandan status quo, and ensure that blacks continue to live as slaves to the advanced civilization of the West. A real African superhero; like Moise Tshombe, Jonas Savimbi, Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Mobutu Sese Sekou.
Lastly, I’m tired of hearing about the groundbreaking black cast and director of Black Panther. Did you know that the most powerful people in Hollywood are the studio executives and producers? They determine what directors, writers, actors and other hirelings do in movies. Wherever their wind blows, that’s where the movie goes.
Black Panther was made by Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures. It was produced, associatively and executively; by Victoria Alonso, Jeffrey Chernov, Louis D’Esposito, Kevin Feige, David J. Grant, Nate Moore and Stan Lee. Not one of these fine folks is black. If you still think Black Panther is about Africa, by Africans and for Africa, then the kunu you’re sipping has fermented.
Hollywood movies first of all, are about making profits. Add one or two subliminal messages and Black Panther fits the Hollywood movie mold to the T. Mr. Stan Lee and co doesn’t give a flying hoot about any “African Story.” It was all about the $$$ to them. Africa currently has the largest population of young people in the world. That there, if you’re a Hollywood studio exec interested in making a demographic-specific addition to a Superhero franchise, is a prime piece of movie estate. A cash cow with engorged udders. Black Panther came to milk the hell out of those udders. So while you’re wearing your kente and Adire outfits to Black Panther premieres and screenings in misplaced pride, Hollywood is chuckling smugly to the bank.
Everyone seems to have lost their heads over this movie, but I’m glad that there’re still some out there who dare hold to minority opinions. Like Leslie Lee III, a Twitter user who has this to tweet about the movie:
“Black Panther is a deeply evil film. It dangles the idea of global black liberation in front of you, paints that as villainous, then ends in an orgy of the freest black people to ever walk the earth slaughtering each other to protect whites. That shit turned my stomach.”
It should turn yours too.
‘Din Shehu is a writer, amateur playwright and corporate events host. He tweets from @dinstots