Monday, February 19, 2018

Why The Black Panther Is Important

I went and saw The Black Panther with one of my twins. I was going to take both of them but at the last moment, one went with his friends. Never forget, they're 14. So it was me and one of my sons.

Great movie. Smart, funny, and the audience applauded at the end of it.

Along with popcorn, previews, and spending, what do they call it, quality time, with one of my boys, the movie itself was a sight to behold.

Why? First of all, it was an all black cast. Oh, there was one white guy, but it was set in Africa, ergo tons of black faces. Intelligent, classy, royal, badass, black faces.

I thought it was important for my kids to see that.

When I was growing up, there wasn't that. If there was a black guy in movies, it seemed there was always just one. And he was either crazy, a criminal, a wide eyed what do we do now, or he was killed off.


You never saw black people fall in love, kiss, pay mortgages, or struggle with everyday life. You never saw black people just be people. It seemed like they either were speaking very proper or the music was always welling up to let you know you were seeing something important.

Then came the single black Mom raising kids in the projects. As we all said, "Dynomite!" I remember thinking that we don't live like that, in fact I didn't know anyone who lived like that. Not to say there weren't folks who did but I thought you should show the whole spectrum of black life. You saw that done for white people.

By the way I had a mother and a father and my Mom wouldn't let me stay out past 11.

Just saying.

People only know what they see.

My kids have no idea what I saw when I was younger. They think what they see today, is what was always shown.

Not true.

It wasn't until Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop that I saw a change.  It was the first time, ever, I saw the black guy be the smart, savvy, center of the universe and have white people turn to him for the what do we do now?

That sounds ludicrous now but I had never seen that before.

So cool.

My daughter turned me on to Scandal. It was about a black woman who was in love with a white guy, who was underwater in love with her. And he just happened to be married and, oh yeah, he just happened to be THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!

Can you say, "Oh my?" I think you can.

I told her that I never, ever, saw anything like that when this guy was younger.

Back to The Black Panther.

I feel it's important for my children to see black faces they can look up to in movies. To see noble black faces, to see technology savvy black faces, to see black super heroes. And don't get me started on Africa. When I was little every movie I'd ever seen set there was about savages in huts. To see a story set there that is all about quality, brains plus add in a storyline I've never seen before...

How does that line go? Priceless.

I have spent my whole life trying to show white people that we are just people. Intelligent, classy, loving, people.

Who are also black.

I used to be a rock and roll deejay and I used to always hear, "What kind of music do you really like?" Uh, rock and roll. It's okay if you're white and like jazz. But not the other way around.

I could go on and on. I'll just say this.

Go see The Black Panther.

It's rare that you can say, "It's a whole new world."

But it's a whole new world.

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  1. Great review Mark. I love your perspective on our lives growing up. Like you said, our children and grandchildren have no idea what we have gone through . Thank God😄

  2. Glad I ran into this post ...well done Mark..

  3. Mark,very nicely stated and you are absolutely correct describing the "Black Experience" in American Culture.