[Issue 048] Welcome to Wakanda
On Saturday I flew straight from Trinidad on my Bugatti spaceship and landed in Wakanda.
Okay it was a Jet Blue flight. And I really only "landed" at the movie theater, but CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW BLACK PANTHER WAS EVERYTHING!?
It was the perfect conclusion to the past two-ish weeks I spent in Trinidad and Tobago, where I was blissfully able to ignore all of the depressing realities of politics in America, racism, gun violence, corporate greed and more.
I spent my time surrounded by people who look like me, joyfully dancing to soca music, celebrating my culture with family and friends, living my best life… and eventually returned to the states to see—not once, but twice—depictions of the magical land of Wakanda that I’ve already packed my bags to move to.
But seriously, what kind of passport or visa do you think I need?
I’m incapable of facing reality again. 98.7% of my mental energy is focused on figuring out how I get my melanin to pop like Nakia, become as brilliant as Shuri and train to be a warrior like Okoye.
As a result, today we continue celebrating Black History Month with an all Wakanda errythang newsletter, because JOY.
Come back next Tuesday for the real world.
P.S. I wrote this while listening to the 🔥 Black Panther soundtrack on repeat.
The Disney princess I've been waiting my whole life for...
Black Panther Breakout Letitia Wright Smashes Disney Princess Expectations. Shuri is a tech-savvy teenage princess who is Peter Parker, Tony Stark, and Q from Bond all rolled into one. Black Panther producer Nate Moore called T’Challa’s science-minded little sister the “smartest person in the world”—smarter even than Tony Stark and Peter Parker. But for all her exceptional brilliance Shuri, as Wright plays her, is also shockingly normal. As an otherworldly Wakandan war wages around her, Shuri is recognizable as a teasing little sister there to keep her big brother both safe and in check. // VANITY FAIR
Black Panther’s Four-Day Total: $404 Million Worldwide and a Slew of Shattered Records. The film has made about $235 million domestically and $404 million worldwide, shattering box-office records. // VANITY FAIR
Why Is 'Black Panther' Selling Out? Activists, Churches, Schools Buy Thousands Of Tickets. The #BlackPantherChallenge, now a very popular hashtag, kicked off in Harlem when Frederick Joseph started a GoFundMe with the intent of taking all the kids from the neighborhood Boys & Girls Club to see a movie directed by black man, starring a mostly black cast, featuring black women with natural hair and showcasing a black superhero as a lead character in a big budget Marvel movie. // FORBES
The Stars of ‘Black Panther’ Waited a Lifetime for This Moment. For all its sci-fi sparkle and requisite fate-of-the-world stakes, the most salient aspects of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” may be the most basic: It is the first major superhero movie with an African protagonist; the first to star a majority black cast; and in Ryan Coogler, the first to employ a black writer and director. // NYTIMES
Black Panther’s Winston Duke Is the Star You Should Be Watching. The Yale-educated actor on playing the headstrong M’Baku, who’s set to become a major fan favorite once the superhero movie hits theaters. (Also, shameless plug that he's from Tobago! 🇹🇹) // VANITY FAIR
Why ‘Black Panther’ Is a Defining Moment for Black America. Ryan Coogler’s film is a vivid re-imagination of something black Americans have cherished for centuries — Africa as a dream of our wholeness, greatness and self-realization. // NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
My fave excerpt:
This is all part of a tradition of unrestrained celebration and joy that we have come to rely on for our spiritual survival. We know that there is no end to the reminders that our lives, our hearts, our personhoods are expendable. Yes, many nonblack people will say differently; they will declare their love for us, they will post Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela quotes one or two days a year. But the actions of our country and its collective society, and our experiences within it, speak unquestionably to the opposite. Love for black people isn’t just saying Oscar Grant should not be dead. Love for black people is Oscar Grant not being dead in the first place.
This is why we love ourselves in the loud and public way we do — because we have to counter his death with the very same force with which such deaths attack our souls.
“The best part of this film’s success is it will show a black movie can be not just important culturally but a big winner economically.”
- Marc Morial, former mayor of New Orleans and the current president of the National Urban League