How can a mere Comic Book Movie have the potential to change the face of American politics? History teaches us revolutions often ignite from less than zero.
Most revolutions ignite due to some “small” inciting incident. The Russian Revolution kicked off due to a late delivery of Rye bread, which cause long angry bread lines. The French Revolution was kicked off by the representatives of the “commoners” being locked out of the government meeting. So they met in the Tennis Courts, thus creating a new “Tennis Court” constitution. After that, heads began to roll.
The Romanian revolution against communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu started from police blocking a simple church service. Worldwide, most revolutions are ignited by something “small,” i.e. a meeting in a pub, a picture of a protester holding a flower, a lone act of oppression against an innocent that galvanizes popular anger and discontent. Revolutions ignite from less than zero.
On February 16, a “comic book movie” has the potential to start a revolution. Why? Because this is a “Black-conscious” comic book movie. Because, popular culture is as an art form can be an expression of resistance and protest. Because, during this time of intense repression against people of color in the U.S.A., a fictional story that highlights people of color (specifically, peoples of Africa and the Diaspora) is a spark that can lead to a blazing inferno.
The demographics of Amerikkka is changing—very fast. Very soon, “White people,” (a.k.a. those who are descended from predominantly European nations) will be the numeric minority in the U.S.A, as they already are around most of the globe. “Whites” are falling in numbers in the U.S.A. below those decendandants of other continents (Latin America, Africa, and Asia.) Trump’s “White Again, Great Again,” America is Custer’s Last Stand — and, they know it. They smell it, which is why they are afraid and striking back with overt state-sanctioned violence and repression.
Why would a mere Comic Book movie have the potential to ignite a revolution? Because it has a cast of predominantly BLACK actors, is highlighting a BLACK story, and presenting Africa and Africans in a positive light. This is unheard of in Amerikkka. As the Black Panther movie trailer states, “The World is Changing.”
When the movie trailer first appeared, it hit a record of 89 million views in 24 hours. This is unheard of; this is “revolutionary.” The opening day ticket sales have exceeded that of any other Marvel release. The movie is directed by a young Black conscious director whose parents were social workers and whose breakout film (“Fruitvale Station”) was a biopic of Oscar Grant, one of the many innocent Black victims of senseless police violence.
Black Panther’s soundtrack includes Kendrick Lamar, a Grammy Award winning “conscious” Hip Hop musician extremely popular with the younger generation. Any one of this factors would be potentially “igniting.” Together (in these repressive times) they are straight out explosive.
Why would a mere Comic Book movie have the potential to ignite a revolution? Because the current Commander and Chief is both loved (by his supporters) and hated due to his crystal clear policies and attitudes targeting people of color. He is the avowed enemy of Black folks, immigrants, or anyone who is not European or “White” enough. All fall within his target range to bully, shame, accuse, and blame. To the incredulous onlooking world, he demonstrates that he is true to one campaign promise: He wants to make Amerikkka “Great” (a.k.a. “White”) again.
On February 16th, a comic book movie has the potential to change all that. This comic book movie will be highlighting a different a different kind of world, a very different kingdom—“Wakanda.” In Wakanda, (unlike Charlottesville) innocent, peaceful anti-racist protestors are not murdered with impunity (and presidential approval) by racist fanatics. If they are, they do not go unpunished.
In Wakanda, innocent protesters who are peaceful women of color do not have their movements (Black Lives Matter) labeled B.I.E. (“Black Identity Extremists”) and “terrorists” by the F.B.I., C.I.A., right wing news media, or the Commander in Chief. Wakanda is not that kind of party, not that kind of kingdom. Wakanda is about justice. Something long missing from the dialogue in Trump’s “king-dumb.”
In Wakanda, little children of color have hero’s that reflect them, their values, their hopes, their dreams, their manhood and womanhood — as well as their skin tone. In Wakanda, not only do Black Lives Matter, Black Hero’s Matter. In Wakanda, justice prevails, not an endless, horrifying trail of “not gulities.” This movie will open up a tear in the veil behind the Wizard of Oz’s not so magical curtain of facades, deception, and racist brainwashing. This will open up a whole new world. A cinematic word of “living color” — like the one we really live in.
This is the exact reason my small publishing company is working on projects that create positive stories, Black Supershero’s, children’s book with diversity, etc. We are encouraging writers and artists who reflect the real world existing here in 2018—a world of panoramic, beautiful, rich, colorful diversity. The world (and America) is ready for some new stories. Move over Captain America and Superman. Make some room for today’s superhero—Black Panther is here to stay. The “Black Panthers” of history were systematically destroyed by U.S. authorities. Comic book Superhero’s are a little harder to kill than Fred Hampton.
What if conscious fathers and mothers of every ethnicity took the opening day of Black Panther off? What if they took their kids to go see what a new diverse world could look like? What if Twitter blew up with a new hashtag (#ODBlackPanther) encouraging people of color and their allies to take opening day of Black Panther off? What if the new diverse America bought every open seat in theaters playing Black Panther to send a resounding message to Weinstein’s decrepit Hollywood: “REFLECT US ALL!”
What if #ODBlackPanther set off a peaceful revolution in the hearts and minds of the children growing up in the Gulag of Trump’s Amerikkka? What if February 16th, opening day of Black Panther, became like a new July 4th, a modern celebration day of liberty? What if we celebrated the unique virtues of every culture, including those of peoples of African descent? What if we replaced the tragedy of Charlottesville with the glory of Wakanda?
The “World is Changing,” as the Black Panther movie trailer states. Sometimes, something as “trite” and innocuous as a comic book movie can spark a revolution. The lineup for Marvels’ movie has more combustion in it than long rye bread lines and tennis court meetings. It has a far more powerful force driving it — the imaginative genius of the African Diaspora.
The “Powers That Be” murdered Dr. King, Malcom X, and key leaders of the original Black Panthers. But there is something kind of special about the characters from comic books–they fester in the fruitful imaginations of children. That is the garden where triumphant and lasting revolutions are born.