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Black Panther of Black Panther

Anyone silly enough to state “it is just a fun film” needs to be sent to sit at the kiddy table. Nothing created by the hands of powerful men/women is innocent. The last point of note is what about the real Black Panthers? And whiles the Black Panthers comic hero predates by a few months the BPP the word “real” denotes what is real to us as an African people. Fiction is fiction, no one died in the making of the film. The ones who fought a real struggle for people’s justice are ours, they are real to our lives. Will their names be remembered by the youth, or will (per Google) everytime you search Black Panther a clown in a suit shows up? You see there is good and there is bad in these things and people in a conscious state are capable of discussing these things beyond the emotion of seeing a “Black”version of an action hero created by the multimillion dollar Marvel franchise.

But that is not the end of it, far worse is now that African see a film with an African hero will it inspire us to make our own? NO! We will let White Hollywood do the work. Because the issue of ownership does not bother us. We are happy to see people build malls for us to shop in, make makeup and skin products for us, books for us, films for us and we just consume these things. The great issue of ownership is not important.

Black Panther film will never in a million years teach us to be our own masters of story. It is teaching us wait on Whites and maybe they will hire us to make Mansa Musa and Askia; Just ask them nicely and they will give us the job. Credit where credit is due, I am happy to see a positive African superpower on screen. but there is something more important than that, and that is our own agency. And in the war we seemed to lose our pride to own our own stories and the world we live in.


I finally found time to see BP, overall powerful and needed message: there was good and there was bad as can be expected. The overall sentiment was it was a good story, a nice try with poor to average elements and execution (music, acting, script, and esp directing were lacking). A more talented director and skilled writer would have got better jelling. Costume got a high score, the Masai adaption did work well. But I could forgive the technical elements because this film never claimed to be high cinema, so why judge it by that criteria? It is not Inception or Silence of the Lambs, it is certainly not on the level of Nolan directing Batman (and even that had in silly mistakes).

I was happy to see more story that exhausting spiderman CGI, What a relief. They could have done away with that cookie cutter high street car chase, it unbalanced the film, and seemed to forced into the film just to meet the Marvel superhero cookie template. The internal story of Wakanda had more than enough power, if fully developed, to carry the entire film. The White SA actor and all that fluff was not needed. The final battle scene was poorly scripted and even more poorly choreographed, and directed. DP work and CGi were okay. Editing work was nothing to write home about. Music, SFX, were horrendous and a missed opportunity, again a more qualified person would have closed out this opportunity.

But my next greatest concern is not the film but us as a people and what will we take from it. And I am not hopeful. I saw a lot of attempts to represent the cultures of Africa they tried it is popcorn cinema which puts Africans in a positive light. And the message of the film came through loud and clear. My fear is did we really hear it? I think we did not. It is like the Matrix I came out with WOW did you see that paradigm shift, the next guy comes out did you see neo dodge the bullet . So my message is (we do not own it, it is not our victory) but it is an OPPORTUNITY, what do you plan to do with it?

p.s Let me ask you guys something. Take all the money we spent to see the Black Panther film (even the money we spent on popcorn) who collected it all us or them?. I mean even the petrol you put in your car to take your family to see the film. Now I am not saying do not go and see the film, I films as a filmmaker and I am going to see BP as soon as time allows. But how much money did we spend globally on a film owned by Whites? Now how much does it cost to make our OWN Action hero film? Do you see where I am going? So as a people we have the fiscal capacity to do for self but we don’t.

By Alik Shahadah