I have felt worthless and invisible. I have wallowed in barrels of self-pity and almost drowned in self-doubt and hatred. I have considered suicide because I couldn't stand the sight of anything vibrant. The colors were too bright. I feared they'd shine light...
*Warning:ALL of the “Black Panther” spoilers are ahead. Read at your own risk.
Soooo, I just got home about 10 minutes ago from my third trip to Wakanda, and I am just as hype about the Black Panther movie as I was on my first one. Each time I’ve sat in the theatre, I’ve connected with something different. But this time, I think I figured out why I feel so deeply in love with this superhero movie.
From the first viewing, I knew that Black Panther was my kind of movie because the female characters were LIT! While they were all definitely beautiful, they were also so much more than their physical beauty. Each woman was strength personified in her own way, and even when they represented two opposite sides of the spectrum, like Nakia and Okoye, the value and the necessity of both roles was never diminished by the presence of the other. But, on this third trip to the MCU Motherland, I realized the very simple message being communicated that resonated deep within my soul. It is the message of,
“TRUST BLACK WOMEN.”
Now, I’ve been screaming, “TRUST BLACK WOMEN” for at least the last six months. I acknowledge openly and readily, that Black Women daily save my life. They are my shoulders to cry on, my caregivers in my time of need, my coaches when I need direction, and my favorite friends with whom to laugh and build. They hold me down when I need a hand and lift me up when I can no longer stand on my own. Next to Jesus and my Mama, my sister circle of Black Women friends are my everything, and the movie Black Panther reminded me of why.
From the beginning of this movie we see Black Women kicking ass and taking names. We see them leading in every capacity, even when they don’t necessarily have a position of power. We watch them save the day more than once, and we honestly have them to thank for Wakanda’s safety. Black Women saved the day at every turn. Nakia kept T’Challa from killing a little boy that was put in a bad situation. Okoye protected a kidnapped victim from her would-be killer and got them home. Nakia remained true to purpose when T’Challa offered her nothing but love. Ramonda pulled strength out of her son in the middle of getting his ass beat by reminding him of who he was and commanding him to show the world. Through her brilliance and ingenuity, Shuri created new ways to be badass at every turn. Nakia reminded T’Challa that he could be his own kind of King regardless of what the men in the past did. Okoye and Nakia both showed us loyalty in action, and while they were loyal to different things, (Okoye to the throne and Nakia to the legacy of Wakanda), it was both of their commitments to show unwavering loyalty that saved Wakanda and the rest of the world from destruction. Nakia’s loyalty drew her into battle and Okoye’s loyalty stopped a civil war.
Basically, at every single turn, these bold and beautiful Black Women were the moral compass and the guiding light for the people in their lives and the country they loved. And, while these characters are fictional, real life Black Women have been setting the same types of examples and doing so much more since the beginning of time. Throughout history, whether given the opportunity or not, Black Women have consistently elevated the rest of society. Much of what is great in our modern society has been built on the backs of Black Women. From Kindergarten to the Civil Rights’ movement and the “Me Too” Campaign to our Social Justice Warriors, Black Women are truly out here sacrificing self and doing all that they can to save the day for those that we love and even those that will never know of our sacrifice. Black Women tried to save us from “45” and did save the State of Alabama from a bigoted pedophile. If this is what Black Women can accomplish from behind the scenes, how much more can be done when we as a society TRUST BLACK WOMEN to lead from the front.
Our fierce protectors, loyal lovers, proud and regal matriarchs, wise warriors, and world-changing scientists don’t have to only be characters in the latest movie Blockbuster. They are present and waiting to be given an opportunity to show the world what they are made of and how we can all benefit from them being trusted to lead.
Throughout the entire movie, Black Panther showed us the unbelievable benefits that come from following the lead of Black Women. As this movie continues to defy expectations and break records, I pray that more than anything else, just as it makes people dream of a world without the negative impacts of colonialism, that it also helps us to imagine the possibilities that await a world that makes it a priority to TRUST BLACK WOMEN.
Social Justice Activist, Youth Advocate, and Badass Black Girl