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The Most Important Moment in Black Panther No One Is Talking About

How Criticisms Of Black Panther Missed The Forest for the Vibranium

Black Panther and Killmonger on the Ancestral plane

SPOILER ALERT

The most powerful moment in a movie filled with rich themes and meaning, unbelievable action and futuristic technology came in a quiet and solemn conversation between T’Challa and his deceased father, T’Chaka, as they spoke in the ancestral plane. In that moment, Black Panther collapsed before his baba and confessed that he was unsure of his ability to be king in the absence of his father. That’s when it happened. That’s when T’Chaka spoke to every Black person around the world and quietly said…

But first,

Criticisms of Black Panther

The first real criticisms of Black Panther emerged even before the opening weekend was completed. Most of the critiques address disappointment in the role of the CIA and the perceived depiction of Black liberation in the film.

First, Christopher Lebron argues that Black Panther, “in the midst of powerful portrayals of Black women, depends on a shocking devaluation of black American men.” Lebron claims:

…[V]iewers have two radical imaginings in front of them: an immensely rich and flourishing advanced African nation that is sealed off from white colonialism and supremacy; and a few black Wakandans with a vision of global black solidarity who are determined to use Wakanda’s privilege to emancipate all black people.

These imaginings could be made to reconcile, but the movie’s director and writer… makes viewers choose.

Journalist Leslie Lee, III had, perhaps, the most biting version of this critique:

Here, Lebron and Lee have oversimplified the complex narrative director Ryan Coolger presented and reduced it into a “good guy versus bad guy” trope in which lines must be drawn and teams formed: Team T’Challa versus Team Killmonger.

However, Coogler wasn’t asking the audience to choose. Coogler was asking the audience to see ourselves in the blurred lines of heroes and villains where we, the viewers, are both victims and monsters.

 

T’Challa as Hero and Villain

Wakanda was a xenophobic, isolationist nation led by an elitist monarch focused on maintaining their own ethnostate. In this manner, T’Challa and the people of Wakanda were villains to the world of poor and impoverished people whom, like Killmonger, they abandoned. As we cheered for their isolation to remain intact — even if only for their own protection, we too became villains. The irony of this, of course, is that we — the Black American audience — aren’t Wakandans; rather, we are the abandoned children of Wakanda.

T’Challa and the Wakandans were the heroes of the narrative insomuch as they allowed us to dream of a world untouched by colonialism. They can be considered heroes in that they saved Wakanda and their technologies from being improperly introduced into the world and saved the world from being engulfed in a war that undoubtedly would kill hundreds-of-millions including Black people.

Some may see T’Challa as a hero for his efforts to help “fix the problems of the inner-city” at the end of the movie through “outreach centers.” I do not view this as heroic. I view this as a tired-cliche of elitist efforts to rid themselves of guilt over the poverty that surrounds their unimaginable wealth.

 

Killmonger as Hero and Villain

Killmonger was a broken and abandoned child of Wakanda forced to fend for himself in a white supremacist society who overcame with nothing more than his own determination. In this way, Killmonger was a hero. He spoke of Black liberation and the plight of Black people around the globe. He properly diagnosed the problem of Wakanda’s isolationism and abandonment of Black people around the world. In this way, Killmonger is our hero.

However, Killmonger was not a symbol of Black liberation despite his words and language deceptively conveying as much. In any event, Black liberation is not a solidified and agreed upon concept amongst Black people in the real world. How could Killmonger, who was created by two white men, ever be the personification thereof?

As in the comics, Killmonger was a psychotic killer. His motivation wasn’t the liberation of black people any more than it was to properly and carefully lead Wakanda. He claimed that the “sun will never set on the Wakandan empire” yet he destroyed the garden of the Heart-Shaped Herb — the mystical plant that grants the Black Panther his superhuman abilities. This meant that, after Killmonger, there would be no other Black Panther to protect Wakanda leaving her vulnerable to an outside world that would now have access to Vibranium technology and weapons.

Killmonger’s goal was to cause the world to suffer as much as he suffered. He was willing to destroy the world along with Wakanda to ensure we all experienced his pain.

 

Both Victims and Monsters

This is exactly the complex narrative with which the director wanted the audience grapple. Wakanda was as much a part of the problem as they were the heroes of the story. Killmonger was a multi-layered villain with the proper diagnosis of Wakanda’s sins. He had the emotional trauma that reasonably supported his Disney-esque, villainous plot to rule the world but needed to be stopped nonetheless.

 

Evil Radicals versus the Good CIA Agent?

Sociologist and author, Crystal Flemming, wanted to know how the Black Panther Party for Self Defense would feel about a movie that represents “black radicalism as the ultimate evil and [portrays] the CIA as the friend of Wakanda,” concluding that this portrayal was “offensive and violent on a level that is difficult to put into words.”

Flemming, like Lebron and Lee, incorrectly viewed Killmonger as a symbol of black liberation and radicalism. He was not. Killmonger was a symbol of his own ambition.

Black radicalism was not represented as the ultimate evil; world domination through ruthless violence, even at the hands of Black people, was the evil that the Wakandans stopped. Should we who fight against the evil and brutality of American imperialism now excuse that same brutality and domination simply because its wielded by our brother?

And what of the CIA? Black Panther, along with every other comic and movie in the MCU is an American-centric story. At the core of this universe is both the duplicitous and brutal SHIELD and CIA. In every other Marvel movie, these organizations are venerated — even at times when they appear to be fascistic and authoritarian. In Wakanda, the CIA was reduced to a single character who filled the role that Black people have had to fill in nearly every movie ever created — the hapless, token character who would not survive without the help of the heroes.

If the CIA or SHIELD had to be present in the movie for MCU continuity, I prefer my agents as the useless tokens who we all wondered, “Why is he even here? Why is he speaking?” versus the venerated, authoritative position given in every other MCU movie.

And then there was this critique offered by former Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate, Ajamu Baraka:

This critique is worth mentioning; however, it has been sufficiently addressed in this piece. Black Panther was not meant to represent Black liberation or radicalism. The movie highlighted the problems that exist even in an utopian Black society.

The so-called villain, Killmonger, was heroic in that he exposed the problems of Wakanda and pushed the so-called hero, T’Challa, away from his own extremism of isolationism. Nevertheless, Killmonger was the greater villain in that he sought global, Black domination through the same violence and force we oppose in American imperialism.

Stand Up. You Are a King

What makes Black Panther so revolutionary as a storyline is that Black people could, for the first time on this scale, see ourselves as the hero and the villain without the need to ignore the fact that we aren’t white.

But how we identified with the characters went far beyond race. We could see ourselves having the heart of King T’Challa as he learned to cope with his responsibilities as leader and protector of his people while fighting the imposter syndrome — the feeling that we aren’t qualified for the positions we hold.

Simultaneously, we saw ourselves as the villain, Killmonger, dealing with the trauma of being abandoned and alone to grow up as a Black person in a white supremacist society.

We could see ourselves as the father of T’Challa, T’Chaka, who did what he thought was best for his family and his kingdom ultimately creating the monster that almost destroyed his beloved son. How many generational curses are we passing down to our children?

I especially saw myself in the father of Killmonger, N’Jobu — the character who is awakened to the harsh realities of what it is to be Black in America — desperately searching for a solution that escapes each of our generations.

Ryan Coogler gave us the opportunity to see ourselves simultaneously as Africans as well as the abandoned children of Wakanda — the Black American.

And then, in the midst of identifying with so many different characters and all our fantasizing about the untold riches and technologies of Vibranium, Coogler handed us the most painful gift: a personal canvas onto which a fresh and deep sorrow would need to be expressed because of the realization that there was and is no Black Panther who could save us. There is no Wakandan home to which we can return.

Black Americans were not abandoned in the United States like Erik Killmonger; we were stolen and sold into slavery. There is no Wakanda. Colonialism raped our homeland almost to the point that she was barren, destitute, and impoverished. Neocolonialism is presently extracting the remaining wealth of that continent and we Black Americans are complicit with our diamonds and smartphones.

Out of all the tragedies, scars and wounds depicted in Black Panther, it is still the wounds of our reality that pierce the deepest.

It is in that sadness that the film demonstrates the potential for the greatest impact: There is no Black Panther coming to save us. There is no Wakanda to go home to. And in the absence of such wonderful dreams, we — Black people around the world — must continue to stand up and be the fantasies of which we dream — just as T’Chaka told his son, King T’Challa, as they stood in the solemn moment of the ancestral plane, “Stand up. You are a King.”

Written by Benjamin Dixon

Benjamin Dixon is the Editor in Chief of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Find Benjamin's new media work HERE
Host of The Benjamin Dixon Show on YouTube and Spreaker.

33 Comments

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  1. Thank you for this critique. I loved the film, but this morning I awoke after my subconscious had started to say – wait a minute, let’s reflect on some of the messages….

    That pivotal scene where the antagonist Killmonger makes that bold statement that that should he surrender to T’Challa – and somehow compares that to the same fate as slavery – was confusing to me. On the one hand, we get a bold reminder of Africans who chose death over an anticipated deadly fate. On the other hand, are we getting a message that black Americans, men especially, have been so thoroughly indoctrinated in American individualism that Killmonger cannot conceive of Ubuntu, and only equates surrender of his will to the death of his person? Is this uncompromising view the reason some Africans find black American to be as arrogant as white? But the same rings true of how black Americans often view Africans. How shall we reconcile this amongst ourselves?

    • Hi Paula – I just watched BP last night. Loved it. My recollection of this scene is that it was assumed that Killmonger would be in Wakandan jail, not that he would be welcomed into Wakandan society.

  2. I should know better to proof read – wrote hurriedly and wish I could edit or delete. Anyway, hope you are able to read through quite a few unfinished thoughts and bad grammar.

  3. Without also looking at why T’Challa became the Black Panther in the first place, you completely “Missed the Forest of the Vibranium” as you put it. You can’t really write a thorough character analysis without seeing the full character development and understanding the complete narrative of Black Panther within MCU. I suggest watching at least Captain America: Civil War, and then re-watching Black Panther with the eyes of someone who actually knows T’Challa’s origin story. It’s pretty much the exact same as Kilmmonger’s.

  4. [Some may see T’Challa as a hero for his efforts to help “fix the problems of the inner-city” at the end of the movie through “outreach centers.” I do not view this as heroic. I view this as a tired-cliche of elitist efforts to rid themselves of guilt over the poverty that surrounds their unimaginable wealth.]

    I view it as a necessary step. A step that continental Africans must take, if they truly have concerns about the diaspora disrespecting African culture, and viewing it as Killmonger did. The onus is on them to teach us.

    • The onus is on both to teach each other. You’re coming from the perspective of a black American I presume expecting continental African to educate you so you can stop disrespecting African culture. That is the height of entitlement. While many Africans don’t learn much about slavery because that aspect of education is non-existent, the victims of slavery were still our ancestors and forefathers. Lineages ended and disappeared. Families were broken and lost forever.

      • Uche, I completely agree with your overall point. However, many continental Africans do very much know of the history of slavery. It is their history as well, in a different way. They view it as a great mistake in the history of their people and their countries. It is taught in schools. Not only that white men came, but also that certain tribes contributed to the slave trade. I’ve had the honor of being in West Africa often and my friends there have a deep sadness for this part of our shared history.

      • Uche, What you see as “entitlement” is not. It behooves continental Africans to pick up the teaching and repair the collective amnesia caused by slavery. In my opinion, (African) Americans disrespect African culture because they are taught it’s value through the lenses of the colonizer. As agents of our imaginary, let’s us tell more of our stories of the past… but I really enjoyed this particular one about our future.

  5. One small point re: the CIA – I the agent broke with the CIA during the casino scene. I’m blanking on the details but I remember him lying to cover for T’Challa, maybe it was later during the interrogation. Maybe I’m misreading or mis-remembering that, but I think it makes a difference when you’re talking about whether the movie portrays the CIA as an ally.

    • But Ross wasn’t there as an ally. He was there because he took a bullet for Nakia. Had he not jumped in front of a bullet for her then he’d never have been taken to Wakanda in the first place. He was fairly irrelevant.

      If most non-comic reading folks are mad about Ross then …

      http://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/02/16/black-panther-who-is-white-wolf-bucky-marvel/

      Barnes is specifically referred to as White Wolf who is the head of security for Wakanda and a white dude. BPp2 should stir all kinds of WTF? I’m betting.

      • Bucky as White Wolf makes sense for the MCU, but the comic book origin of the character shares a lot with Tarzan mythos. Orphan white child… stranded in Africa… brought into a royal family and embraced as a son… But, yes… except for the fact that Bucky’s programming appears to have been broken by Shuri (creating a strong sense of loyalty to Wakanda), he’s potentially a lot more troubling than Ross… ESPECIALLY since he’s a super soldier with physical powers almost identical to Black Panther.

  6. “At the core of this universe is both the duplicitous and brutal SHIELD and CIA. In every other Marvel movie, these organizations are venerated”

    Actually, what I loved about the Captain America movies is that they explicitly portray SHIELD as untrustworthy.

  7. Director Alfred Hitchcock used what was called, the MacGuffin in many of his movies. In fiction, a MacGuffin is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. In Black Panther’s case, Vibranium IS the MacGuffin. This movie is more about abandonment, resentment, bitterness and redemption.

  8. Interesting. So very many layers, so complex, just like real life. This may seem off topic at first but stay with me.

    I thought one of the best things to witness was the role of women. Men have been deciding for us what we are or should be attracted to. We saw the Americanized Killmonger discard his woman like a used tissue. We saw the respect given to Okoye when protecting something more important than her love for one man, her love for her country. I saw so much strength and respect in W’Kabi, down on his KNEES, with a spear at his throat, at his most vulnerable, casting away his ego and pride for his country, that I wanted jump through the screen.

    American men are shocked and offended when you don’t trust them even when they have done nothing to earn that trust. Your children, job, dreams, spirituality should all come second to him. They believe that women will think they are a “pu$$y” if they cry or show deference, even if that deference is earned. It doesn’t matter that we (women) understand there is actually MORE strength in being vulnerable. What matters is the MEN don’t believe that. Strong women in Wakanda are respected and attractive as opposed to the strong independent women of America who “can’t get no man” because the men only see themselves in comparison to these women. They don’t know who they are without someone to compare themselves to, without someone to subjugate. In the same way that White nationalism’s worth is only determined by who they think they are better than. Their value is determined by who they can subjugate. This is what the black man has inherited from the colonizers.

    BP showed that you don’t have to subjugate anyone to be powerful or worthy because your worth is not determined by anyone else. So to our black men in America I say “Stand up. You are a King.”

  9. Actually, the movie was about black power in my opinion. We tend to credit the militant movement in Oakland California once led by Huey P Newton and others with the title “Black Panthers” or proper “Black Panther Party”. The reason why I think the movie promotes black Power was for the fact they had their own county and own government with sustainable rare resources. Which to me is power, Black Power the same type of black power people give respect to the militant organization in California. Again we also give credit to the wrong Black Panther Party, yes I said right. There were two panther party’s.

    Let me give you some black history since it is February. I was born and grew up in Selma, Alabama and this history is connected to my city and family. The original and true black panther party was actually founded here in our backyard in Lowndes County/White Hall not California. Sorry 2pac’s mom. I know this to be true because my great-great uncle (my granddads brother) was actually elected as the first Coroner. A black elected official during a time when black people could not even vote for white officials or anyone, which is the true meaning for the movement. The reason why they called themselves the “Black Panther Party,” and actually used a black panther picture as their symbol was because at that time they discovered a lot of black registered local voters and other people couldn’t read due to recent and past laws forbidding education to negroes. So they created a symbol to help locals to recognize their political party and for when black officials were running for an office, this helped the illiterate local black people recognize their political campaign and to be able to vote for the right person with the black panther logo. Get it? Democratic Party/Republican Party via Black panther party.
    (one reason why you may notice so much black owned land in Lowndes County today)

    There’s more——> Several Years later a young college student by the name of Stokely Carmichael left his comfortable classroom at Howard University to join Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis of SNCC and many others for the student movement that was happening in Dallas County, Wilcox County and when they went to Lowndes County to try and protest they discovered (Stokely Carmichael) particularly discovered that black people in the rural south particularly in Lowndes didn’t need young activist like him, Dr Martin Luther King or others to help in the way they had tried to help all blacks in the south. You see blacks had already created their own politics and political party called the Black Panther Party. Something not mentioned in black history even by our own people because it doesn’t benefit their message or support their money campaign now a days. Stokely Carmichael became encourage by this amazing rural Alabama land owning, farm and post office owning, schools churches and retail stores owning group of people and also tired of the slow results with Dr. Kings strategy of non-violence movement against angry white people and decided to take part in the Pan-African global movement when he returned back to Howard and he changed his name to Kwame Ture and then start conflicting activist conferences in contrast (not against) his mentor Dr. King and the non violent SNCC movement and started saying Black Power, Black Power!!!!! Every where he got a chance to speak. The term Black Power became popular and formed into a movement on its own with visual media coverage of police and racial violence being documented and shown on news station across the country. The Black Power moment really gained momentum and took fire the day King Died and they so many large cities rioted and rebelled against law enforcement and government and (RECREATED or stole) the Black Panther Political Party name and logo (the black panther) and created a milita group out in California this creating the world famous group of Black Leather suits wearing, Black Polo Caps wearing, gun military disciplined men force having, Afro wearing organization and the Black is Beautiful movement was born. The men and women of Pan Africanist organization you see today are out of this stolen identity along with the former studies of the original Pan Africanist Marcus Garvey of course.

    Sorry for the long response cuz, it’s hard to give the details to people when I know I will get backlash without facts. One reason in particular why I know this information to be true is because its part of family stories pass down from generations. Also there is a Political Black Panther Party campaign flyer on display down at the Lowndes County Interpretive Center of my great-great uncle “Ross” voted first black Coroner.

    • Thank you for sharing! This oral history needs to be documented, if it has not already been, and I *highly* encourage you to do so! Please! As it is an education to us all! It’s teaching us reality vs the sordid metaphors that we tell ourselves without reference to the fact that they *are* metaphors of what actually happened to us in the past. Even in our clearest language, we omit facts, details, and ultimately resort to a simplified abstraction of the original phenomenon, but at the very least, to have written depiction of these events is profound, not only for those who would seek to learn of their own history, but also of those who had been stripped of power by economic disenfranchisement, in addition to the wider groups of people who could gain benefits learning our very collective human history!

      Thank you profusely for sharing!

  10. By the movies end, T’Challa understood Killmonger’s point but decided to go about it in a more peaceful diplomatic way by building up communities affected by poverty. Killing white people wasn’t the solution.

    He mentioned during their final showdown that Killmonger wanted to become exactly like the people who he hated so much. They were all fighting so they wouldn’t turn evil from hatred and racism.

    The current US establishment (which is run by white people) is in danger of losing its position of power. Not saying any of this with racist intentions. All the money and policing in the world isn’t saving it. # metoo movement is tearing the man/woman relationship apart in their culture (and rightfully so in many cases), gun control isn’t a problem in the minority filled ghetto’s and inner cities as suburban schools, offices, and events have horrific mass shootings, nor is wealth and job opportunities (hence Occupy Wall Street). Karma is balancing all the races and cultures out. Once again, I don’t say any of this in a vindictive prejudice way, it’s an observation.

    So if the Wakandans went from a peaceful people to a warmongering nation in order to control the situation, then they would’ve lost everything they were and what they built and Karma would’ve come back and bit them just like it’s doing with western civilizations.

    It seems from afar that White America is at war with themselves currently (just like Black America has been for so long with each other) because they didn’t check the hatred and oppression they allowed to spread over the centuries. It’s sad because we all could’ve been at peace working together. T’Challa and the good people in fictional Wakanda knew this which is why Okoye said for the country (and it’s good parts) she’d kill without question. They had to kill W’Kabi’s men (aka Killmonger’s army) to ensure the future of their people. So it wasn’t simple Black people killing each other to protect the White establishment. It was much more. If Black communities stood up to the bad apples in our own “Wakandas” by any means necessary, we wouldn’t have half the problems we do.

  11. Why do you focus on the violence? You know what you failed to notice? Combat in Wakanda is not gory, they consider guns abhorrent, the WOMEN comprise the army, they use spears, and they fight hand to hand, but FIRST, they confront with words. Who brought in violence? Erik, in his twisted anger, becoming the hand of the CIA, trying to infiltrate paradise. And T’Challa had to admit that he was not perfect, that his father, nor any of the past kings of Wakanda were perfect.

    Seriously, how did you *miss* the WOMEN of Wakanda? Heroes, all, from the Queen (Angela Bassett, so luminous), to Letitia Wright (the brilliant scientist), to Florence Kasumba (the warrior, leader, lover, loyal friend), and Danai Gurira (another powerful, loving, loyal warrior friend). And finally, Lupita Nyong’o, the beautiful spy, the love interest of the Prince, powerful in her own right, smart. While the tale was about the new king and challenges before him, without the women, he would not have had a chance. None of the men would.

    What sickened me about going to see the movie? Not the movie – the commercials and the previews. You know how they do in the movies, now, before the previews, there are commercials? And the commercials were… join the Air Force. Join the Army National Guard. Join the Marines. Learn all about the ways you, too, can not only learn to kill people of other nations, but how you, too, can be forgotten by your government after your service.

    Then the previews began – approved by the motion picture association to be shown to this movie audience. And what were they for? A remake of “Death Wish”. Yes, because we need more guns wielded by a vigilante with no reason to live. Only it’s ridiculous, because Bruce Willis (?) is a doctor (??) out to kill (???) the people who killed his wife, only – he HAS a reason to live, a daughter. So… why is it a Death Wish? So he can be “humanized”? With a gun?

    Then we have “Rampage”. Government experiments on animals which are then set loose in a city to cause massive damage all while everyone on both sides – the animal lovers vs. the government types – are shooting everyone else as well as trying to quell the animals, likely killing them, as well.

    And next, most importantly (seriously?), yet another installment of Jurassic Park, “Jurassic World”. And we have a baby RAPTOR being rescued? Um. Oh, and lots of violence, dead bodies, stuff bein’ blowed up but good!

    Finally, a new trailer for Disney’s “A Wrinkle In Time”, and then I actually had time for a bathroom break before the movie began – because yet another preview was going to happen – and when I got in the ladies’ room, I was shocked to see my face, tears streaming down, I was so upset, so rattled, I hadn’t even noticed I was crying. I took care of myself, washed my face, and got in before the titles began.

    My take away from this movie is not that “blacks are violent” or even that the CIA is evil. Well, maybe it is, but that’s another topic for discussion elsewhere. My view of this movie is – I do have hope. This movie, for all the horrid advertisements deemed “appropriate” for what I suppose the motion picture industry viewed as a violent film, gave me a beautiful story with people who want to make the world a better more peaceful place. This movie, to me, is a triumph.

  12. Great article… I concur with nearly everything you said. Except… I disagree with the idea that Killmonger representing Black liberation was incorrect. Yes, he had his own ambitions and goals beyond black liberation, but the end result was still Black liberation and unification of oppressed people world-wide. So in that sense, he absolutely represented Black liberation. And his extremity does not negate what would have been the product of his actions.

    And I also agree that the community center was underwhelming. When you have a network of spies all around the globe, even if you don’t use the druglords, you have worldwide resources… but your building one center? That was not liberation and didn’t dramatically change the status quo, it was soothing guilt as you described. I agree with that.

    In my opinion, I think this was a story of Malcom X versus MLK… In the comics, maybe Killmonger was obsessed with killing and just wanted vengeance. But as portrayed in this movie, in the ancestral plane, he talked about waking his people up, not revenge. He talked about not crying because he was so used to death in the community he came from. And to me, that represented in is purest thoughts, change and liberation, all be it by the means he knew, which was violence. I think where the issue lies is that, in addition to liberation, he had the audacity to have the ego of a White man, which even in movies, seems unforgivable… thus negating the liberation aspects of his efforts in the minds of some.

    But even if he did represent Black liberation, neither he nor Wakanda actually exist. So yes, we are all the kings that will have to free ourselves. Some of us will have more aggressive logic. It’s important to remember that… that is ok too… and it doesn’t negate the root of their intent.

  13. T’Challa was more impacted by A) his father’s EXTRAORDINARILY poor choice of abandoning Erik and his empathy for his cousin’s struggle B) his (former) best friend and confidante who outlined a less extreme engagement strategy and C) his former lover (and obviously important figure) Nakia.

    T’Challa was inching closer to a change in perspective, even as older council members fought to maintain the status quo. The depth of Killmonger’s treachery and psycopathy forced his hand, but he was clearly different than his father, just as his comic book character was educated abroad and made himself (and Wakanda) known to the Fantastic Four.

    His character HAD to come into accepting his larger role on the world stage INCREMENTALLY, and let’s be clear… all this happened over the course of about TWO WEEKS after he made his debut in Civil War. His FIRST ACT as king was to go to South Korea and grab Klaue to Wakandan justice. He was in a coma 48 hours later.

    I’m just saying.T’Challa IS a hero. And the depth of his willingness to forgive a mortal enemy and seek reconciliation is even more heroic. Oakland was a start, and an appropriate one.Directing Shuri to train an entire generation of brilliant Black people is a helluva lot more impactful than Killmonger’s unsustainable Wakandan hegemony.

    I recorded a lenghty podcast about the film. Check it out if you’re inclined. https://youtu.be/pKXc1auGnRY

  14. Why neglect or ignore our own ethnicnity/origin by saying “black american”? African not even mentioned in that even when this article is about a film that emphasizes that very thing. Michael B Jordan said, “Didn’t all life begin on this continent? Aren’t we all Africans?” That is the greatest crime we can do to ourselves is not practicing our own true identity. On top of wearing names that do not come from our people.

  15. I was desperately hoping that BP and maybe his sister could reach inside the soul of KillMonger and help him heal and become a true and valuable ally for Wakanda – maybe the heart flower would heal past his past hurts. I didn’t want him to die. I thought – please tell me you have a secret patch of heart flower growing somewhere else – but that opens a sequel – via the intro to a one-armed Bucky at the end which probably 80% of movie-goers will miss by leaving too early? Yes I’m one of those who stays all the way thru the final credits and tries to read some of the multitudinous names of artists.
    Great review by the way Ben, our family discussion will be greatly expanded upon with your insights!

  16. Peeps its A MOVIE. Like Superman, Spiderman , Batman et al I can’t believe you peeps are looking for CRITICAL ANALYSIS and REAL LIFE LESSONS from a comic strip character. The MOST IMPORTANT thing about BLACK PANTHER is that it shows that BLACKNUSS can equal GLOBAL BOX OFFICE SUCCESS and perhaps open new markets for REAL DEAL BLACK films that CAN teach us something;.BLACK PANTHER is NOT that film.

    • No, not just a comic book movie, genius 🙂 It’s art and art can teach us a lot no matter what the form. Obviously, the creators pulled a trojan horse and used this 200 million vehicle of a MC movie to get their very important messages and images to us. So glad they took this opportunity to do that and not just sell out like so many of their peers who for 50 years have had the financial means to do this movie long ago Oprah, Cosby, Jackson, Jordan – shall I go on. African Americans are the 15th largest economy in the world. But like the battle at the end of the movie too ununified to build real economic wealth or positive images.

  17. I rock with this article heavy heavy. I would love to hear your perspective on M’Baku and Jabari tribe role in the restore of T’Challa as king. Is this a testment to the power of Black Solidarity or is there something much deeper you see?

  18. I can’t believe the planet Krypton was so advanced and yet still fought eachother, I mean what kind of message are we sending our children that even intelligent people still can’t compromise, and Thor does a pretty bad job of showing the average white family, the children are constantly fighting, the mother was murdered, the father is distant. This sets such a dangerous mind set for modern families

    • I totally agree that the movie was too violent. I loved the movie but my only issue was the cold-blooded violence. Even with little blood, the movie seemed to celebrate violence. I see so many people taking young kids below 13 to see this for the cultural effect like taking kids from the Boys and Girls clubs etc. But I feel and always did feel that as Black people we tolerate too much violence in our culture and media consumption. Also, it really did not make sense that such an advanced civilization that supposedly was enlightened and abhorred violence would let their leader be chosen via a fight where any brute can just show up and beat down your king and take over the country. So to me, that was a serious plot hole but I get what the creators were trying to do. But the message seems to be that at the end of the day it all comes down to who is the strongest like some kind of cave man tribe. But then again, I have to remember that at the end of the day this is a comic book movie about superheroes and what do they do in the comics – Kapaww! Bang! Boom!

  19. Article got it wrong… he did not fall to his knees confessing he was not ready to be king. His father said the same after telling him to rise and techala corrected him saying He not reach to be without his dad..

  20. Regarding the CIA, it should be noted, though the article does not, that the one CIA operative, played by “Bilbo” lol, notes that Killmonger’s acts of ruthlessness are extensions of exactly what the American military and the CIA trained him to do, which says something about their nature that is anything but benevolent.

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