A lot of my avid followers could practically feel my excitement from my visit to Wakanda yesterday. However, what I did not mention was how all that excitement died a gruesome death as I stepped into my house to meet darkness; typical of my country, Nigeria.
Verdict:9.0 Stars ⭐⭐⭐
The trailer never gets old:
Following the Nigerian premiere of Black Panther on Friday, the 16th, I counted the hours and minutes till I could get around finding the time to see the much talked about movie. In my opinion which you should trust (if I do say so myself), Marvel studios outdid themselves with this movie. This experiment has earned them Africa’s love and full head light attention.
The Black Panther is much more than a movie but art in its truest form. Infact, Negritude in its finest!
However here are a couple of reasons why when thought through, I hung my head in shame for both my country and my continent.
Set in an imaginary country presumably situated in Central Africa ( judging from where the Vibranium dropped if you closely took note of the movie prelude), Black Panther tells the tale of Prince T’Challa who returns to Wakanda, a technologically advanced nation in the heart of Africa after his father’s murder.
Wakanda is a country made powerful by technological advancement through the use of their sole natural resource- Vibranium. More fascinating about Wakanda is her army of amazon-like warriors headed by Okoye (Danai Gurira). The Dora Milaje are fierce in battle and loyal to the throne. Notice how the all male army headed by W’Kabi surrender in defeat?
For the million Nigerians who have seen Black Panther, a scene was set in the infamous Sambisa forest as the Boko Haram men fled with kidnapped Chibok girls. That scene should make every single Nigerian not leap for joy like a child who has been handed a candy but sit quietly with immense sobriety in order to reflect on the failures of a 57 year old country. Some reasons why?
Why rejoice that Nigeria got a scene in a Marvel production when since the dreadful incident in 2014, no A-list Nollywood filmmaker has invested resources in making an internationally acclaimed movie telling the world the story of the Chibok girls but every other weekend, stories are recycled with no attempt to at least advance from the 1990s Nollywood style? So, while we busied ourselves releasing Romantic Comedies, Americans took just one scene and gave our story life. OUR STORY! We have gotten so comfortable in acquiring temporal glorification when we should be pursuing international ovation.
This is no sub but most of our movie makers took their families to see Black Panther, even dressed up pretty nice for the UBA premiere of the movie. I followed their pages religiously, hoping to see a comment or post that would profess that indeed our industry needs to wake up but to my disappointment, all I ended up with was the women being enamored with their outfit and makeup while the men moved on with their social media life like the universe was at peace with the caricature we have made.
Every single cast represented an idealism when closely inspected. I might have to write another post about the cast of Black Panther and how it reflects on Africa’s Past and Present. However,I fell head over heels in love with the character, Okoye:
“I am loyal to that throne and to who ever seats on it. What are you loyal to ?“- Okoye
Played by Danai Gurira, Okoye represents the indelible strength of the African woman in its most uninhibited form. Okoye is a fighter, a friend and a lover. How she effectively knows which roles to put to play makes her character the more enigmatic. Look around you and tell me if you see any trace of the mentioned attributes in most young African women. We have let ourselves be blinded by trends set by the “Colonizer” in the words of Shuri (Letitia Wright) that we can no longer identify where our strengths lie. We fight feminism like it were a foreign ideology but once again we are shown that the movement is in truth what was obtainable in Africa. You might want to find out who the N’Nonmiton of the Dahomey kingdom (present day Benin Republic) were or take a close look at the power of the Umuada group of precolonial Igbo tribe.
It is also impossible not to notice how well the movie makers paid attention to casting individuals for each role. Did you notice the resemblance between T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the young T’Chaka (Atandwa Kani), the Old Zuri (Forest Whitaker) and the young (Denzel Whitaker), the young Erik Killmonger (Seth Carr) and the old (Michael B. Jordan)?
What Nollywood might learn from this? Casting is a very important role of movie making. Needless to say how important this is to the beauty of a movie. I don’t expect to see a bony structured faced youngster with elongated facial features replaced by a robust cheeked adult matched with oval features. Imagine being introduced to a dark skinned toddler, a dark skinned teenager who grows up to become actor, Majid Michel. This is possible in Nollywood.
I rest my case…
When ever you walk into the cinemas with Black Panther in mind, ask yourself, what can I do to make Nigeria a real life Wakanda.
A look at two of the movie’s writers and producers, they are Black men and in no way resemble aliens:
RATE THIS MOVIE
If you have seen Black Panther, let’s know what you think by rating it here: