Wakanda Forever and Ever…

Obviously not a road lesser traveled with the deserving blockbuster theatrical sales for the Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever, but I wanted to share my immediate thoughts after catching it Saturday afternoon with the fam…

I don’t say this like it’s entitlement, but I have read Black Panther comics for much of my 52 years (and still do). Enough to see Shuri take the mantle in the comics before film while T’Challa rediscovered himself filling in as Daredevil. As a Caucasian middle class kid, I delighted one of the few characters of color in comics was regal, powerful, respected, acrobatic and an off the chart genius. This when the Civil Rights Movement was still feeling its aftereffects. I know what a tough thing it was to make Wakanda Forever without the franchise’s heart and soul, Chadwick Boseman. I was one of two people who cheered his arrival out loud in the theater during Captain America: Civil War and when T’Challa came back in Avengers: Endgame, my son and I both stood up in the theater and snapped off the familiar Wakanda salute. I don’t mourn celebrity deaths often, but I did Chadwick’s. He IS and always will be the Black Panther, and as a longtime fan of T’Challa and the fictitious utopia of Wakanda, I was mostly thrilled by Wakanda Forever.

A couple minor gripes aside, this is a poignant, reverential, emotional tribute, not only to Chadwick, but to Black Panther’s creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. These were two white, Jewish men who created T’Challa and Wakanda in the interest of empowering a downtrodden race. The cast for the Black Panther films have understood the meaning of legacy and ascendancy. Watching both films, I had the same recurring thought, these are no mere movies; they are the revolution Lee and Kirby propagated more than 50 years ago. Strength and honor be yours, Wakanda, forever…

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