Leesha applies for Wakandan citizenship

Woo child!

I am so gassed you could tie a string to me and give me to you baby for their birthday!

For the first time in over a year, I went and saw a movie in the cinema. Not only did I go to the cinema, I went to the first showing AND I paid for 3D!

Not many movies would have me going to these lengths, but for Black Panther… well I would have hitch hiked to Wakanda itself.

For those who don’t know, let me spend a minute explaining why this movie is so important.

For decades, black people have been underrepresented and misrepresented in Hollywood and in comics.

We have been typecast as the sidekick,

The thug.

The thot.

We have been told that we don’t sell movies and made to believe our stories are not the same as “the masses”

I truly believe we are now witnessing a change in the zeitgeist. Not just for the representation of black people, but for the respect and protection of all. The people are blatantly and consciously resisting the rise of racist nationalism.

So in the same year a pussy grabber was given the codes to nukes (and a twitter account he has no business using!) Moonlight won Best Picture. Now Get Out is nominated for four Oscars and Shonda Rhymes makes almost every show on TV.

I’m grabbing hold of this change with both hands. I’m drinking it in, riding the roller coaster and praying this is more than just a short lived phase. And if that means giving yet more of my money to Marvel, so be it.

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It’s a family affair

So how was the movie itself? I gotta be honest, I was prepared to lie and say it was great for the culture, but I really don’t have to!

The movie lived up to my expectations, and more! Seeing myself and my brothers and sisters on screen as positive, complex characters filled me with joy and warmth and a feeling of strength I didn’t know I needed.

Seeing Africa on the big screen, not through wide shots of children walking miles for water, but through Wakanda, a colourful, thriving, technologically advanced country filled my heart. It is sad to me that it has taken 25 years for me to see the homeland of my ancestors portrayed so positively in Hollywood and yet I have seen 50,000 glowing presentations of the British monarchy  (of course without the reality of them pissing round the dinner table!) Wakanda leaves me wondering just how much more prosperous our African nations would be if they hadn’t been colonised.

The black woman is fully and wholly represented in this movie. I saw black women as bad ass warriors and amazing scientists, as lovers and as spies. And now young black girls for generations to come will see themselves as all they can be and do. They will know that their natural hair is beautiful and sits on top of a mind that is limitless.

As for the men, I was so proud to see them, not just as thugs and drug dealers (although the first scene had me questioning for a quick minute) These men were regal, smart, complex and conscious.

Even the “bad guy” (Michael “Bae” Jordan making me question who I actually wanted to win!) had graduated from MIT.

As you all know, a Marvel movie is never finished at the credits, and this one is no different. King T’Challa’s speech is incredibly relevant at this time and his sentiments echo those of murdered MP Jo Cox.

You’ll notice that this review hasn’t focused on the plot. That is a conscious decision. I could tell you what the movie is about, but this is a movie to be experienced. Don’t spend time trying to find out what happens before you buy a ticket. Go to the cinema with no preconceptions and drink in the beauty of the visuals, feel the ground shake as Wakanda fights for its survival and shake your booty to the melanin laced soundtrack.

Here’s hoping Okoye, Nakia and T’Challa can lead the charge into a new future.

Now please excuse me while I try to find the address for the Wakandan Embassy…

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