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Black Panther Mania

Cory alexander haywood ow contributor | 3/16/2018, midnight
This didactic superhero tale has triggered a continuous wave of verve and pride..

A cold reality

The relationship between Africans and Black Americans is severely fractured. And despite vigorous efforts to unite both groups, the latter may continue to view Africa as an undeveloped land, while natives of the motherland generally believe that African Americans are not taking full advantage of the economic and occupational opportunities available to them. These sentiments have caused strife and division among several generations of people.    

African American film fans--whole families in some instances--can be spotted donning dashikis, Kente cloth, headwraps, and skinny jeans - snapped pictures of themselves in the lobby. Fathers cradled their sons tight as if they were there to hear a speech from Dr. King himself. Mothers practiced African-inspired dance steps with their daughters. Grandparents reminisced about their days battling “the man” as members of the storied Black Panther Party.  

It was a good ol’ time ... and yet I was radiating with disgust. “So it takes White people to create a Back superhero for us to show a little unity?” I asked myself. 

Why do we celebrate like newly freed slaves whenever the powers in Hollywood decide to throw us a bone? 

Granted, the release of Black Panther is a massive step in the right direction. It’s the first sci-fi movie to feature a predominately African American cast and crew. 

The success of this film and future installments will inevitably open doors of opportunity for minorities - and that’s encouraging. 

But if these projects are bankrolled by White overseers, they’ll always be in the power position structurally and financially. 

How long will it take for us to break this cycle? Will we ever stop waiting for “them” to tell “our” stories? 

I saw Black Panther with my Jewish friend, who appeared to be gleefully amused by the sight of “RayRay”and others in African-inspired clothing. 

“What’s with the costumes, dude?” he asked.

“It’s hard to explain,” I replied. 

“Don’t they know Jews created the original concept?”

  “No.”

Inevitably, once the hype cools off, most of us will forget that Africa even exists.