On February 15, 2018, the movie that we all have been waiting for came out, Black Panther. In the opening weekend of this movie, it made over 400 million dollars. People came out and supported this incredible film. Some people dressed in African garb, while others wore outfits representing the African American culture. We all were captivated while we watched T’Challa, Kilmonger, Princess Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, and the other amazing characters come alive on the screen. But what truly made this movie special was Wakanda.
Wakanda, a city ran by Wakandans (Black people), occupied by Wakandans, highly technologically advanced, and home of all the Vibrainium in the world. Wakanda is a place that you want to go to. A place where Black women are fearless, loyal, smart and beautiful. A place where people are educated and making new discoveries and cures for diseases. Wakanda is what Africa would have looked like if colonizers (White people) hadn’t colonized Africa and enslaved Africans.
We watched this movie and fell in love with each of the characters, even Kilmonger. While watching this movie, some of us dreamed of living in Wakanda. To live in a society where we are loved, accepted, appreciated, and considered equal to one another. A place where the system is not stacked against us. A place where we do not need to fight for the simple rights like clean water (Flint), safety (Florida), justice (police brutality), status (Dreamers, DACA recipients, and illegal immigrants), and life. We sat there and watched Black Panther dreaming that Wakanda was real and we were there.
If only Wakanda existed and I lived there.
It dawned on me, after I left my Black Panther high, that Wakanda can exist. Wakanda was a community of Black people that were educated, working on making new technological discoveries, loyal (for the most part, we can’t forget about W’kabi), caring, and supportive of one another. Wakanda thrived because they believed in taking care of Wakandans and only Wakandans ( well until the end of the movie). They believed in their community and did everything in their power to support and protect it.
So I pose the question, why can’t we make Wakanda a reality? Why can’t Wakanda exist? Why can’t we have a community where we, Black people, can thrive in education, technology, healthcare, judicial, or anything we put our minds to. We are smart, talented, and strong people. We as a race have survived the Middle Passage, Slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, and the new Jim Crow. We have been shattered but we are not destroyed. We have been torn but we’re still complete. We have been burned but we are not ashes. We have been put through hell but we come back and when we come back, we come back stronger.
It is time to start to change what is the ‘norm’ for us as a community. It is time to change the educational system; our children should be at the top and not the bottom in test scores and grades. It is the time that we encourage our children to be doctors, scientist, lawyers, policemen, educators, researchers, judges, congressmen (and congresswomen) and anything else that they want to be. It is time to invest in and support our Black brothers and sisters businesses and products. It is time to stop portraying ourselves and allowing colonizers to portray us as ignorant, uneducated, thugs, sluts, drug dealers or any other negative connotation that people think about Black people. Our ancestors bled and died that we could have a better life and it is time to make that dream a reality.
“We have the power, knowledge, and the skill within us to make Wakanda a reality.”
We may not have Vibrainium but we have the same intelligence as did the Wakandans. Our ancestors used this intellect to advance us as a community and the world. Through the sweat and blood of Patricia Bath, Sarah Boone, Marie Maynard Daly, Frederick McKinley Jones, and so many others, we as a community have changed the world not by the power of Vibrainium but through the power of our wisdom. These people and others have paved the way so that we and our children might have the opportunity to study, invent, and to continue to add to the list of accomplishments that Black people have made. We have the power, knowledge, and the skill within us to make new advance technological discoveries; to find a cure for cancer, to invent a security system that protects our schools, to create a program that allows all people to have status and so much more.
Wakanda is a fictitious place but its ideals, morals, and values can be our reality. We can make Wakanda a reality for the people living in Flint MI, Detroit MI, Chicago IL, Atlanta GA, Baltimore MD, or any community that is plagued with violence, drugs, or poverty. We have the power within us, it is up to us Wakandans to rebuild and reshape the Wakanda’s that have been colonized by colonizers. It is time for us Wakandans to show the world that Wakanda does exist and to inform them that we still have power and resources and we are ready for any challenge. Wakanda forever.