The highly anticipated Marvel’s Black Panther released Feb. 16. Before its release to the public, Black Panther began breaking records with critics by becoming the highest rated Marvel movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes with a 96 percent on the tomatometer. If its ratings weren’t impressive enough, the movie raked in $201.8 million and counting during its three-day opening weekend.
Black Panther is the vehicle that ran over the stereotype that movies with a predominantly black cast would flop. This is a stereotype that producers and directors have used for years as an excuse to keep black men, women and children from every corner of the African Diaspora from gracing the big screen without a predominately white cast alongside them.
Black Panther transcends the realm of being just another superhero movie by expertly and unapologetically combining real world societal problems within its fictional world. It does this by addressing the complex feelings of cultural abandonment, anger and pain many African Americans felt from the devastating aftermath of slavery while simultaneously showing the hard positions affluent African countries had to face within their own continent from human trafficking to child soldiers.
Movies like Black Panther are not only important for black youth to look upon and see positive representations of themselves, but it’s also important for non-black people to see those positive representations as well. During the SLAM Conference hosted here at UVU, Kyle Reyes explained how society shapes our perceptions of people whether we know it or not. He used the card catalog as an analogy to describe how every experience whether it be personal, viewed on television or read from print shapes our perception of a person or a particular group of people. In an era where the pot of racial tension is no longer subdued but allowed to bubble over, a movie such as this helps everyone regardless of race place a positive card into their black person catalog.
“The way we reclaim [our dignity as people] is by giving people the power to write their own story,” Reyes said.