Get Me Out of Wakanda!
This article first ran on Black Agenda Report on Feb. 22.
I finally got around to seeing the “Black Panther” movie Tuesday. I’ve been black nearly seven decades. My blackness does not require affirmation from the Disney/Marvel Comics Universe, where Tony Stark is a greedy Pentagon contractor, where Captain America is a genetically modified organism, where the Wakandan king and the wannabe king both work with/for the CIA, and where Daredevil’s pals (season 1 episode 4) note that investigative reporting on “teachers union scandals” is as personally perilous as crossing the Mafia.
For those of us aiming to build a better world, this movie is nothing short of enemy propaganda.
In the “Black Panther” movie, all the Wakandan players are royalty, their counselors, their advisers or their rivals. All the strikingly beautiful and capable Wakandan women take orders from men. The only unambiguous good guy is the Frodo-looking CIA agent. The homicidal Killmonger character is calculated to sully the very notion of black rebellion against unjust authority, while Pan Africanism and humanism are defecated upon from multiple angles. Cinematic bar fights, car chases and battle scenes are a dime a dozen, and worst of all, Wakanda isn’t even rendered in any visually inspiring way.
The movie disrespects its audience and is a standing insult to science fiction and afro-futurism. As Dr. Jared Ball points out, we can’t just go make and market another movie to compete with this one. Disney/Marvel Studios put tens of millions into the promotion of this thing alone, and for now, millions of people are buying their message. That’s called cultural hegemony.
Those who would drink from this nasty water for “affirmation” and “black joy” must be deeply, desperately thirsty. And evidently, thirst confuses before it kills.
The only good thing I got from this movie was the motivation to look for and find some real, respectful, challenging and innovative science fiction and afro-futurism, preferably written by some black women to wash the rancid taste of Marvel’s superhero-industrial complex from the inside of my head.
I wasn’t going to record this commentary for Black Agenda Radio. Originally it was a Facebook post, but it generated such a response that it deserved a life outside of corporate social media.
Because Black Agenda Report is equally critical of Republicans and Democrats, because as black leftists we consistently oppose capital, patriarchy, empire, the black political class and the bipartisan war machine we are the only black-oriented media outfit alleged by The Washington Post and Prop Or Not to be under the evil influence of the Russians. Google and other corporate social media have targeted Black Agenda Report in order to restrict your access to our content. If I, Glen Ford or Margaret Kimberley or Ajamu Baraka or Black Agenda Report was temporarily or permanently banned from Facebook, all our posts and their comments would disappear. Facebook claims all posts as its private property. And even if they don’t ban us, it can be extremely difficult to find a Facebook post or a tweet more than a day or two old.
So I’m posting this at BlackAgendaReport.Com and at Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on SoundCloud where you can easily find it from now on. Please follow and share our stuff from those places on all your favorite social media. And please visit BlackAgendaReport.Com to subscribe to our direct and free weekly email of each week’s new content. Email is called dark social media because Google, Facebook, Twitter cannot track or block it.
Special thanks to Dr. Johanna Fernandez for the title #GetMeOutaWakanda.
Bruce A. Dixon is the managing editor of Black Agenda Report.