Black Panther released in theaters February 16th and in just twenty-four days (March 11th to be exact), the film officially crossed $1 billion worldwide at the box office. This year at the 2018 Oscars, Jordan Peele became the first Black screenwriter to win an Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay” for his 2017 film Get Out. I’m officially declaring this time the beginning of a Black Revolution!
Black screenwriters and directors like Ryan Coogler, Jordan Peele, and Ava DuVernay are using the realm of film to celebrate Blackness and share the stories of Black identity across the nation. Due to their hard work and diligence in changing the on screen images of Black identity, they are actively providing positive, strong, and powerful images of Blackness on the BIG screen and in the homes of many.
Black Panther and Get Out are not just great films, they inadvertently speak truth to power. These films highlight a range of circumstances that people of African descent have encountered from colonization to racial discrimination.
Get Out illustrates the horrific reality of being Black in America. It highlights the domination and control that White America has had over Black bodies since slavery! It is a film representational of how Blacks or African Americans are silenced throughout the world, hence the “Sunken Place”, a concept that has been used to depict our marginalization.
However, Black Panther serves as an opposite depiction of the cultural elements, historical wealth, brilliance, and royalty of African identity – the “original” reality that have been stripped away and replaced with the narrative of systematic and institutional oppression. The circumstances that have become our current reality. Black Panther also celebrated Black womanhood and the strength, courage, and wisdom that Black women are birthed with. Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than Black women and it is time that our #BlackGirlMagic is honored and placed at the head of the conversation. Director, Ryan Coogler paid homage to African culture and addressed the disconnect between the relationships of African Americans and Africans in this film and led us all to have a deep discussion on why we, who have come from the same roots, are so divided as a people.
Black Panther and Get Out are movies that will forever go down in history. These are films that our children will watch and look up to years from now. These films are the beginning of a Black Revolution and the creation of several films and shows to come inspired to speak truth to power and change the images of Black identity, much like Seven Seconds and Shots Fired, which highlight the history and sometimes horrific reality of Black identity in America.
It is films and shows like these that will allow us to recognize a source of power within ourselves that will empower us to transcend fear and embrace our internal strength and power.