Some people are still taken a back by the huge buzz behind the silver screen debute of Black Panther and the excitement that it has been generating in the black community.
1stly its because its not his debute. Being stone cold ninjas and artistic wizards of the highest order, Marvel Films sauvely snuck His Highness, Prince T’Challa in during the Civil War arc.
We got to meet his father, His Majesty T’Chaka, King of Wakanda played by South African legend John Kani and we were with T’Challa when he was not able to save him and bore witness to his greatness when he chose not to kill the man responsible (rather turning him over to the law)
2ndly and this is the most important reason I think, it is because it is the 1st time the mainstream media & hollywood as an industry has presented a lead black character as a king, let alone as a superhero. (If you feel the need to point out Warhammer, Falcon, Cyborg or Blade, then you can leave now)
It is nothing to scoff about. If you look at film & television, black characters are seldom displayed as powerful. Or great. They are either, the 1st to die, or funny, or football stars, or basketball players, or rappers, or pimps, or janitors, or security guards, or thugs, or slaves, or average joes.
There are not many well known black superheroes for black kids to aspire to. There are not that many, stories of black warrior kings to inspire black excellence & greatness. You might think that this is all blase blase… but almost every poem or story you have heard that inspired the great men you know, was written by either a white or asian poet & or was about a white or asian warrior/king.
The psychological effect of having heroes is well documented. It inspires confidence, a spirit of competition & direction. It gives you an example of what you can achieve & often maps a path on how you mite do it.
So imagine the psychological effect of living in a world were there are hardly tales of heroes of ur tribe or “race”… this is the reality of black people in the world we live in. Thus the excitement & anticipation in the “black community” to see this depiction of a black hero king.
The 3rd reason is why I am excited to see Black Panther. Not only is its civilization influenced by South Africa… The language of Wakanda is Xhosa & their king (John Kani) is from my tribe
That is right. John Kani, who like me is Thembu, managed to convince Marvel to rather go with xhosa as the language of Wakanda than make up some fake language.
So now, as it should be, xhosa is associated with royalty. But then again I think Nelson had that covered.
So next time someone asks you what is all the hype about… Put on your best Zamunda swagga and tell them.