All of black America was on a high because of the release of the Marvel blockbuster, “Black Panther,” this time last year. The film was lauded as a breakthrough moment in modern entertainment because it consisted of a predominantly black cast, and was directed and co-written by a black director.
Fans and film enthusiasts filled theatres nationwide with extravagant African garbs and props to profess their love and appreciation of African culture. The film was a symbol of pride and heritage.
Following the film was many discussions, trends and a semblance of a movement towards creating that sense of ownership, autonomy and power that Wakanda represented. But, were black fans were too caught up with the image of power rather than working towards the means of claiming it?
In a meeting with President Donald Trump, Kanye West said, “If people don’t have land they settle for brands. We want a polo sporting Obama again. We want a brand more than we want land because we don’t know how it feels to actually have our own land and have ownership of our own lots.”
While "Black Panther" showed us great images of a prosperous black nation, how are those millions of viewers empowering actual communities today?
Marcus Garvey, C.L.R. James and Kwame Nkrumah were leaders who developed a Pan-Africanist movement, showing blacks around the world that they are not “minorities.” These gentlemen and many others worked toward developing industries for black people, and wealth generating mechanisms so they can proclaim their independence.
There is a layout on ways to build a self-reliant black community that does not have to destroy or war with other communities. It’s simply focusing on community development and self-love; and, every other community does it.
As per a report by Nielsen on the power of the black dollar and spending power, blacks consume $1.2 trillion worth of goods and services. From food and beverage, health care, personal care, entertainment, energy, household goods and more, the black wallet is now heavily pandered. Many corporations even develop diversity departments and marketing teams to reach blacks.
The culture and creativity of black people truly serves as a vibranium resource, however, it is being used for profit outside of the “nation.”
A push for enrollment in HBCU’s, a push for land purchasing and development, and a push for entrepreneurship is important for the future success of the black community. A nation like Wakanda requires education, leadership, logistics, technology, agriculture and unity in order to prosper.
"Black Panther" was revolutionary because it celebrated, and highlighted the dynamic culture of Africans and people of African descent.The movie told those who watched that black people can lead, and create and dominate industries whether it be science, government or health care.
The time is now for the black community to move from celebrating images and looking towards celebrities for help however. It is time to become leaders.