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Black Panther (2018) Movie Review: A Call To Action

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During the 3 day weekend that America celebrates President George Washington, Black Panther (2018) came into theaters and is challenging the conversation of what it means to be an African American, the relationship between Black women and Black men, and the role of white allies in the conversation of Blackness.  Black folks, it is time for us to talk.

 

We Dismiss the White Ally

Black Panther is dismissing the concept of a White Ally within the issue of dealing with Blacks and all of the African descendant communities around the world.  For Everett Ross, we appreciate his service, and we acknowledge his assistance, but Ross represents the necessity of White people needing to sit back and just listen. For years, we, as Blacks, have had to listen and partner with Whites to help forward Blacks being able to gain Civil Rights in America and begin to live the Civil Liberties that are written in the Constitution and its Amendments. 

The moment of Ross being in the presence of M’Baku and not being able to verbalize his analysis of the situation is what White Americans need to understand – your voice is no longer necessary or wanted. Black America needs to deal with these issues amongst Black Americans and other people of African descent around the world without the input of White Americans.

The initial conversation between Black Panther and Ross reiterates how Ross does not even begin to respect Black Panther and his people.  During the interrogation of Klaw, Ross was able to connect with Klaw (who is not an American) simply because White people around the world are able to connect based on one principle – as Shuri stated they are “The Colonizers.”  Clearly, Colonizers around the world can connect even if Ross is a “good” Colonizer, his services are useful and we appreciate it.

Thank you for your contribution, but we got this.

As African Americans, we have always been in search of our past and our ancestors, but we never paused to think about if they have been in search of us. Click To Tweet

What Responsibility Do African Nations Have to African Americans?

Dripped in the imagery of the newly revised Roots, we are reminded that Black Panther is willing to take us to places that we never imagined.  As African Americans, we have always been in search of our past and our ancestors, but we never paused to think about if they have been in search of us.

Michael B. Jordan in his portrayal of Eric Killmonger, (and I would prefer to call him N’Jadaka), is deemed as an angry Black male.  Why is he labeled as an angry Black male?  Also, if he is an AngryBlack male, then why not?  Doesn’t he have the right to be angry?  He was the remnant of Africans who were left in America.  His mother was American, and his dad was Wakandan.  It is easy for people to see that he was abandoned from the elders of the Wakanda tribe, but let’s have a bigger question, “Why nations of Africa did you not come for us?”

We have consistently had the conversation of White people who enslaved our ancestors, but we need to start placing blame in another space – the nations of Africa.  Not only did they contribute to the slave trade, but they also never came to retrieve us or align with us to improve our lives in America.  Why did you not partner with us in our cities to help African Americans prosper?  Yes, we are Americans, but we are your descendants.  What is your responsibility to us? 

So, N’Jadaka comes back to Wakanda with the notion that he should have the opportunity to sit on the thrown.  Instead of entertaining that idea, T’Challa turns his back on him without giving N’Jadaka the opportunity to speak his truth and pronounce who he is.  It is the elders that want him to declare his truth, so they can deal with the consequences.  One would assume that T’Challa would want to give space for N’Jadaka because they are of the same bloodline, but after a lifetime of dreaming of “home,” it is “home” that turns its back on him.

When N’Jadaka sits on the thrown, he states that there are 2 billion people of African descent who are needing to be liberated. Fascinating idea, and yet we are to go back to the idea of What role does the African Nations have to the billions of people who are their direct descendants?

 

Black Women Matter

I have been explaining how Black Women are the backbone of Black men.  We have seen how important Black women were in the elections of Donald Trump and the Senate race of Roy Moore, but we have also seen it throughout history.  Why is anyone surprised that black women of Wakanda are strong and have some significance in with the leadership council, technology development, and the army? 

Let’s be clear, wherein American history amongst African Americans have Black men thrived without the sacrifice and care of Black women?  Even going through the history of African tribes, many of them were inherently maternal (before colonization).  With that being said, it is pretty clear that I can firmly state – Where would the Black Panther be if it was not for women? 

The technology is developed by a woman.  He was nurtured back to health by three women. It was a woman who made the decision to fight for the nation as a way of service to the nation.  In the end, women stood and fought for the installation of the Black Panther as the men sided with N’Jadaka. The men were for a more aggressive style of leadership that undercut women’s role within leadership and effectiveness within the governing that would eliminate their voice.  The women sided for collaboration and strived to retain their voice in governing, as they fought for T’Challa.

It must be intentional to think of the strength of women in the Black Panther (2018) movie is in alignment with the Black Panther Party.  Even though we know the leaders of the Black Panther Party were male, but the women implemented the programs.  They were the people who lead the Hot Breakfast program that was the beginning of the Head Start Program that was adopted by President Johnson and still is active to this day. 

In fact, it is there level of involvement within the Black Panthers that kept the organization moving as the leadership was in jail and on drugs.  We can argue the complexity of the program and the involvement of the federal government dismantling the organization, but the role Black women played in that movement is clear and significant.

 

What Now?

It is clear that we are now at a crossroads with this movie. 

Should we as Black people demand more from our partners, fathers, brothers, friends, and institutions about respecting us? 

Should we as Black Americans demand more respect and accountability from African nations, and in essence not ask for America alone to pay us reparations, but ask for these African nations to pay for the damage they have done to us? 

Should we seek partnerships amongst a variety of leaders who lead nations that are predominantly of African descent? 

Should we exile white allies completely until African Americans rebuild and start a “community”?

I don’t know, but this movie sparked a conversation and demands for us to respond.

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For The Culture

Seven Year Old Dies in Border Patrol Custody

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ICE detainees

In a devastating development, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl has died in the care of Border Patrol. Until autopsy results confirm her cause of death, Americans are left with more questions than answers.

Seizures

A group of 163 migrants attempted to cross the border illegally and were then apprehended in New Mexico. Among them were the victim and her father. Shortly after their detainment, the group was transported to a facility in El Paso, Texas. It was there that the 7-year-old began having seizures within hours of being in Border Patrol custody. Claiming “Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life”, the CBP is now under investigation.

Fever, Dehydration

Initially reported by The Washington Post, emergency responders measured her temperature at 105.7 Fahrenheit, just two degrees shy of incurring brain damage. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency statement indicated the child “had not eaten or consumer water for several days”. Needing further care, emergency responders called for a helicopter transport to Providence Children’s Hospital, where the child went into cardiac arrest. She was “revived” but ultimately could not recover, passing at the hospital less than 24 hours after arriving for treatment.

Facing blame from the ACLU, CBP has been called out for a “lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty.” Offering nothing but their “sincerest condolences”, CBP will continue to draw the scrutiny of the public as this is the second death of a child in their care. A toddler passed six weeks after being released from an ICE facility. Having contracted a respiratory infection from receiving poor medical care, the toddler’s mother is not suing for the loss of her child.

Political Outrage

Government officials have since spoken out about the tragedy. Beto O’Rourke has called for full transparency in the investigation of the child’s death. Congressman Joaquin Castro also asked for a full investigation by the Inspector General and Congress. Without autopsy results that could take weeks to receive, the country is talking about ways we can do better as a nation. As a country, we’re holding out hope we can rise from this humanitarian crisis.

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Where is Justice for Cyntoia?

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Cyntoia Brown

Time and time again we have seen the justice system fail Black people in America. This week, its victim is Cyntoia Brown.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that Cyntoia Brown must remain in prison for 51 years before she is eligible for release. This news comes as a response to a lawsuit that states Brown’s life sentence is unconstitutional. Violating the U.S. Constitution, a mandatory life sentence without parole is still what Cyntoia faces with judgment requiring imprisonment until the age of 69.

Having run away from home, Cyntoia, 16, was living with a pimp named “Kut Throat,” who abused her and forced her into the life. He was 24 at the time. After days of being drugged and sexually assaulted by various men, Cyntoia was passed off yet again. Purchased by Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old child predator, Cyntoia found her limit. She killed her abuser but has not received the same justice many women in her position have found.

Justice only comes in one color

As children, we grew up hearing stories about women like Francine Hughes, famous for the Burning Bed. A battered housewife, Francine set her husband on fire as he slept, freeing herself and her children from his tyranny. The prosecution and the defense agreed her plight was sympathetic. She was found not guilty.

In June 2016, a woman killed her husband in an argument over another woman. As punishment, she will serve one year in jail and 9 years on community corrections. In his judgment, Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street said:

“The lack of remorse in this case concerns me so much that I think Ms. Delaney needs to be reminded of what she has done, what she has taken from her children and from the victim’s family. I’m ordering her to serve 30 days in jail every June beginning June 1 through June 30 for the entire 10-year sentence.”

The modification of her judgment came out of concern for her high-risk pregnancy. What a luxury! Just Friday, new broke that New York City police officers forced a 27-year-old woman to give birth shackled to a hospital bed, in full violation of state law. The privilege of justice in this country only comes in one shade.

At this moment, there is a petition urging the judge hearing Cyntoia’s case to grant her clemency. It currently has 500,000 signatures but needs 1.1 million. I encourage everyone touched by her story and seeking justice for her to sign.

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Charlottesville Driver Could Face 419 Years

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James Alex Fields Jr Charlottesville Driver

Charlottesville driver, James Alex Fields Jr., could face life in prison plus 419 years. The sentence was recommended by jurors this afternoon.

Fields stands convicted of killing Heather Heyer, who was in a group of counterprotesters during the 2017 rally. Mowing through the crows, Fields has racked up five malicious wounding charges and one charge of leaving the scene of the accident. Jurors made their recommendation after listening to statements from Heather’s mother as well as those who were injured.

Deliberations took roughly four hours over two days, the jurors presented the judge with their decision. However, the judge will not formally sentence the driver until March 2019. On top of the 419-year sentence, the jurors also recommended $480,000 in fines.

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