My First Trip
As many of you can probably relate, I’ve traveled to Wakanda twice. ‘Black Panther’ is a film that needs to be seen multiple times. My first trip to Wakanda was dope. I wrote about it in a preceding article where DJ L-Double-E invited We Buy Black to an event that he hosted. My second trip, however, was a little more interesting. Let me tell you about both trips.
The first trip was an excellent experience, whereas the second one sucked. At the Cinemark 18, there was a unifying spirit, a bond between the filmmakers and the audience that consisted of, yet surpassed skin and penetrated our souls, connecting us on a spiritual level founded upon a shared history. During my second visit, Wakanda had already been colonized.
1. Cultural Differences
There were certain aspects of ‘Black Panther’ that were so specific to our community. For example, my second favorite line in the film: when Killmonger said, “Hey, Auntie,” to Angela Bassett. That line made me laugh because I always address my Auntie with those two words and my cousins address my mother the same way. It was relatable and everyone in the theater laughed when I first saw the film.
Similarly, Killmonger’s last line affected everyone deeply. When Killmonger told King T’Challa to bury him in the ocean with his ancestors, the crowd cheered. I also cheered when Killmonger asked the curator at the museum how she thought her ancestors obtained African artifacts. As you can see, I’m team Killmonger. I also relished the parts where Shuri called the leading Everett Ross a Colonizer and a broken White boy.
During my second trip to Wakanda, no one joined me in my laughter at Killmonger’s, “Hey, Auntie,” line. And when Killmonger spoke the truth about the turbulent history between the Black and White communities, the theater was dead silent–aside from my cheering. No lie, you could feel the tension in the air when Shuri called Ross a White boy and a colonizer. I laughed.
2. Children of Wakanda
I was excited to be a part of DJ L-Double-E’s event. As I stated in my previous article, seeing the excitement on the children’s faces was a reward in it of itself. I was happy to know that those Black children were able to see something that I never experienced in my childhood; a Black superhero up on the big screen.
By the end of the movie during my second visit to Wakanda, I saw that only one child was ecstatic about the film. A young, White child gave the film a standing ovation as she crossed her arms like the Wakandans did when they greeted one another. Her blissful ignorance was refreshing. She didn’t see color, but I think she was the only one.
3. The End of the Film
At the Cinemark 18, everyone in the theater stayed until the end. We all eagerly anticipated the possibility of there being more to the storyline after the credits. Sure enough, there were more scenes. We watched the scenes that followed the credits as attentively as we watched the film.
At the second theater that I attended, as soon as the end credits began rolling and the theater lights came up, the majority of the moviegoers jumped up from their seats and rushed out of there. As I looked out at the sea of predominantly white audience members, I saw disgust and disappointment on their faces. I guess the truth really does hurt because ‘Black Panther’ speaks nothing but the truth.
The tension that I felt radiating from the boiling blood of my White counterparts made the experience subpar. Lesson learned: when I take my third trip to Wakanda, I’ll definitely be going amongst other Wakandans. Wakanda Forever!