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Thoughts Inspiration Education: Black Panther The Movie

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

Services by Tirza Schaefer

So we got into the car, brought Tarini over to my parents and then drove to the cinema. It's a cul-de-sac before you hit the pedestrian area where the cinema is and so, you drive past a long row of shops with parking spaces in front. Usually, they're all full, but there were a couple free and I pointed them out to Tajun. He kept going. The one before last parking space was free. He went in smoothly, turned to me and said: "I always get the parking space I want. Actually, I nearly always get what I want, no matter what." Boom!

Then we got out of the car and walked into the entryway that leads past some cash machines to the stairs going down to the cinema. Tajun remembered he had to get a parking ticket from the machine, turned around and went back to the car. We got the tickets, then waited for him. When he came, he had this schmuck grin plastered on his face. "There was a ticket that stuck in the machine which is still valid and has been paid long enough to last us till well beyond the end of the movie, so I didn't have to pay anything," he explained. "Told you, I'm good at manifesting." Boom again!

Then it was showtime. They had me as soon as I saw Angela Bassett. She is my all-time favourite actress since the 90s and such a powerhouse, I've always loved her for that. It's as if she carries a nuclear power plant-sized generator inside and it's all her energy! What a woman! And the role of queen/king's mother is perfect for her. Who could be more royal and dignified than her? Okay, I'll stop here, you catch my drift.

The movie was not only entertaining, I really enjoyed it, and I am really not a SciFi/Superhero fan usually, so that's a great compliment. However, I think they should have taken more care in the historical background. I know, it's a fictional story, but when you use ancient deities that actually exist in religious doctrines from hundreds and thousands of years ago, rather than making up your own, it would lend credibility to the writers to pay heed to this. Bastet was at first a lion (not leopard/panther) goddess before she evolved into a cat goddess in Ancient Egypt, along with the domestication of the cat.

Hanuman is not an African gorilla god, but a Hindu (India) monkey god who was the general in Rama's army who battled the army of demons to liberate Rama's wife Sita from the demon king Ravana who held her captive. The story has been written down in Sanskrit, Ancient Indian language related to Latin, and this book is called the Ramayana. But if you take that under creative licence and let that not stop you from enjoying the story, you certainly will have lots of fun.

Tajun said he thought the storyline was a bit like a bunch of old white men had thrown together a lot of black clichés and made a movie of it. Nonetheless, he liked it for its entertainment factor.

I would like to add that my children, as opposed to many black people the world over, are living a privileged life, and I don't mean money or power, but they live in an environment where no one cares which colour they are (if at all, people say they are handsome and beautiful), but they are liked, loved and respected for being awesome, loving, polite, helpful, considerate and responsible human beings whose lights shine brightly by the sheer power of their awesome personalities. They have healthy self-esteem (you will have noticed from the above about Tajun being so confident about his manifestation skills) and many friends.

Not every black person in the world is living this kind of life, however, and for many, a movie such as Black Panther has a special symbolic meaning of the liberation and the long-overdue recognition of outstanding black talent and achievement. In this light, Black Panther is not only an important movie whose impact on the collective psyche of the black community should not be underestimated. And frankly, the talent is apparent, the actors are outstanding, beautiful, strong, honourable and quite simply loveable. Even the "evil" cousin isn't wholly evil and you cannot help but feel deeply for the little boy he once was.

And as opposed to the standard Hollywood clichés, this movie doesn't simply paint everything black and white (pun intended), but presents different points of view as equally valid and the hero characters' ability to develop and grow not only in their personality but also in their decision making. They take all things into consideration and build a brighter, better and more humanitarian orientated future by making different decisions than simply clinging to the old traditions. The world is changing and if we want to not only survive but build a better life for all of humanity and life on earth, we must take new pathways and reach out to each other with open arms and hearts. It's about teamwork and mutual support, rather than strife, war and power struggles.

And this message is the most valuable of all in my opinion. Making Dr. King's dream, he once mentioned in his world-famous speech about half a decade ago a reality, not only for a few but for all equally the world over. Men, women, children, all genetic, regional, religious and cultural backgrounds alike. Let's look for each other's excellence, not each other's faults.

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