RECAP: Black Panther & The Blogger Social
The Black Panther Lives
Black Panther, the blockbuster movie adaptation of the 1960's comic, is set to open in China next weekend, four weeks after its US debut. It has already grossed over $400 million in the international box office. Three weeks after its release, the UK and South Korea are the movie's most successful markets outside the US.
And they said that a movie with a mostly Black cast could not do well internationally. According to entertainment news sources, it's worldwide revenue is now well over $910 million.
The Disney/Marvel film drew comic book fans, action seekers, pro Black enthusiasts and the curious. Many returned to see it again and again.
I saw Black Panther the weekend after it officially hit the movie theaters on February 16. My friend Debra planned a group outing to experience Director Ryan Coogler's interpretation of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. She's passionate about community building and the excitement around this movie really lent itself to that. There was no shortage of the Wakandan salute that night.
The movie was enjoyable, but I’m not raving about it. Maybe because I read too many spoilers beforehand. But, I appreciate that it was relevant to the times on a social and intellectual level. For me, its strength lies in the conversations it has started.
Worst of Black Panther:
1. There are one or two scenes that seemed to be “resolved" too quickly. The most notable one is when W’kabi's (Daniel Kaluuya) surrenders near the end of the movie. He doesn’t believably have enough time to reflect on the error of his ways. His quick pan across the inter-Wakandan battle scene makes him kneel before the Dora Milaje’s general? That moment feels rushed and underdeveloped. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the sequel we find out that W’kabi only surrendered because he knew he would lose. There was no genuine change of heart. Just a “let me stop now before I get killed" plan of action.
Best of Black Panther:
1. Akoye (Danai Gurira) and Nakia's (Lupita Nyong’o) high speed chase down South Korean streets. This scene was a great blend of action and humor. And it builds on the idea that tradition and innovation can coexist and work together.
2. T’Challah, (Chadwick Boseman) king of Wakanda aka the Black Panther, embodies this line Solonge’s song “Cranes in the Sky": “A king is only a man with flesh and bones. He bleeds just like you do.” The king is not weak, but he’s allowed to be vulnerable. He’s not even the best fighter. M’baku (Winston Duke) almost whips him during the first challenge for the throne and Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) throws him off the cliff in the second. What T’Challah has going for him is fearlessness, teachability, he seeks his nation’s best interest and surrounds himself with the best. Killmonger’s “to whom much is given, much is required" argument is a valid one, but he is too broken to rule. He has to rule his own spirit first. He wears abandonment as his crown and robe. Its gravity is crushing.
It's clear that the studio invested in publicity and press tour activities, which included cast appearances on the daytime and nighttime talk show circuits, at Comic Con, and other fan events in the US and abroad. Here are two quotes from an interview at the Apollo Theater in Harlem I think touch on some major themes in the movie:
The Blogger Social
The People Are Hungry
There’s something percolating in the Bronx. I feel a momentum growing.
Some of its brightest are staying and building - putting their money where their mouth is to shatter the unimaginative images of the borough.
250 creatives swarmed Bronx Museum of the Arts on Saturday, March 4 for the first Blogger Social. The event visionary and coordinator, lifestyle blogger, Deyla Sabio, spoke of the “aroma of creativity” that flavored the room and our shared drive to infuse it into our communities.
The Blogger Social Collaborators
Ayesha Akhtar (left), Deyla Sabio (center) and Henry Obispo
Besides bloggers, I met photographers, designers, poets, entrepreneurs and artists. I listened as people told me about their inspirations and what they hoped to accomplish through their work. As they shared their stories I could hear them juggling their contexts, influences and their own contributions. I think it fanned a flame in all of us that won't be put out easily.