The Marvel Black Panther film looks nice. Black people are beautiful, what do you want me to say? Black is ever so beautiful. But…that’s the way Marvel wants it to look. Like anything the media flashes in your face.
Recently, I was asked about my thoughts on the upcoming movie. It was pointless to have this conversation with a passive, sleep-walking through life kind of person but I answered the question honestly. As usual, this sister let her silence speak. Either having nothing to say or treating me like a militant, angry Black woman without a real and actual cause. Don’t ask if you don’t really want to know. Most people don’t. They are not woke. I did not elicit an excited, simple answer so this person turned their brain off.
No offense to all these fine, upstanding, not-white actors, but how am I supposed to support a film wholeheartedly when I know Black people do not control the images and characters that I’m seeing and expected to endorse? Aren’t Black people’s bodies, culture, and voices in the media just used as avatars for whites to manifest their destiny, their perceptions, onto to the masses? White people have been manipulating images and perception across continents and lining their pockets with their exploitations for hundreds of years. Should I, should you, view the Black Panther film as any different?
I have written before about Marvel’s X-Men co-opting and appropriating from the Black Power Movement and the Black struggle. It seems we will allow anyone to represent us regardless of who they are and how they’re doing it as long as we’re not invisible. But that isn’t enough anymore. Not to me.
Some Black viewers and Black Marvel fans may be a little too obsessed with representation. Obsessed to the point that they no longer care where it comes from.