So now what? We spent our money in support of an African based film; shattering records and propelling Africanism into the global equation. Our consumer aspect has always been evident but the display of unity was something new. Your Black card is revoked; I’ve seen facebook friends de-friend friends who haven’t seen it. Kente cloths in 3D. Dashikis at matinees. Busuutis at the concession stand. The display of pride was unprecedented…
But how can we change this into a movement? The beginning of something big. Is it possible? Or was the display ‘for entertainment purposes only.’
One of the hardest conditions Blacks have been battling to overcome is support for one another. Black businesses struggle because we don’t want to see each other get ahead. Mainly because we each know how difficult it is to achieve so when we witness success we delegitimize the hard work – drug money, inheritance, etc. anything not including diligence. Since most of us work “twice as hard” we feel it’s unfair that one succeeds and not the other. Jealousy plays a large role as well as a systemic psychosis. We HAVE to overcome this. Knowing your role is key. Not everyone can be a business owner, a doctor, a lawyer or a professional athlete. But we all can be a conscientious consumer and support one another. When one succeeds, we all succeed.
And we love spending money. By far the most giving race in America, we save less and spend more than any other group of people across the planet. ‘Keeping up with the Joneses,’ is another problem imbedded in our communities. We’re inundated with consumerism and we succumb. Gucci, Prada, Benzs, Lexuses, etc. all while struggling to make ends meet. It’s the American way and we so desperately want to be included –
…and integration has failed the Black Progress. When we couldn’t, we gathered in churches and neighbors homes to plan and plot a movement. We stayed angry but used that irascibility constructively, building pride and unity. i.e. Wakanda. Colonizers didn’t want anything to do with us but as soon as they witnessed our strengths, they used integration for their advantage. The Negro League flourished until Jackie Robinson integrated MLB. And once done, the top stars of the Negro League followed suit to prove to the world that they were just as good, resulting in the inevitable demise of the Negro League. In all fields, our best and brightest, through integration, became determined to show their worth and would ultimately leave behind a community that was in desperate need of their talents. Whether in housing, education, professional fields, entertainment, this tactic depleted our development, setting us back for many years to come.
So why Black Panther and not Birth of a Nation? Why support a fantasy hero and not a real one? I, for one, love history and I receive strength and inspiration from my forebearers but I can understand Blacks being tired of seeing one another in chains, being beaten, submissive and “weak.” But we can’t build a nation without knowing our past, becoming intimate with our struggles and acceding to our desires to be accepted. That pain hurts but we mustn’t look away but instead face it as a triumphant step into us becoming more focused on our future.
But maybe it was the positive light that we were cast in. Kings, queens, scientists, warriors, inventors and unified beyond belief. Maybe that’s what we needed to see in order to become more great. Maybe, just maybe, if we start promoting and distributing these types of successes, we will continue to be on board and start building towards something special. So now there’s an appeal to all artists – painters, rappers, authors, singers, athletes and actors to now showcase positivity and distribute that new light amongst our race. Change the stigma of “Black” so we’ll support not just Black Panther but Black Doctor, Black Lawyer, Black Business Owner and Black Citizen.
Once something is proven that it can be done, then: it must be done.