Strip Talk #25: Black Panther film is needed, necessary now

Needed. Nec­es­sary. Now. Black Panther’s release was all of this and more in a time when melanated super heroes on the big screen are far and few in between.

Why was the ensem­ble tale so nec­es­sary? While lit­tle chil­dren can throw a stone in any direc­tion and hit any num­ber of white super­heroes, the num­ber of black super­heroes is small. In main­stream comic book movies, at most there are: War Machine, Storm, Cyborg and Fal­con. That’s it. That is, until T’Challa and his nation of advanced progress hit the scene.

The pres­ence of the almost entirely black cast was sorely needed. The pres­ence of a capa­ble black direc­tor was needed. See­ing pos­i­tive images of black folks was needed. Why? Because it’s about time that black folks were shown as human, beau­ti­ful, smart and good peo­ple. It’s long over­due, but the thrill of see­ing a black man run his nation and do the right thing when given a choice never gets old.

And why now? Because for the pos­i­tive side of black super­heroes to do well in this cli­mate, it was noth­ing short of genius and a mir­a­cle. Now is the time for the con­ver­sa­tions sur­round­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion and diver­sity, and Black Pan­ther is the per­fect vehi­cle. Now is the time for black folks to rise above neg­a­tive stereo­types and look at how we are per­ceived, point to Black Pan­ther — a fic­tional char­ac­ter aside — and say, “We are more than capa­ble of bring­ing in box office dol­lars and, most impor­tantly, we are human and here to stay. We have a seat at the table.”

Wakanda for­ever.

Lyn­d­sey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. She can be reached by email at lyndseyh@gaminginsurrection.com

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