Considering Black Panther and Black male esteem. by AJ Harper
The death of Chadwick Boseman was a tremendous loss. A true hero, the man and the actor. Black Panther, the character and movie meant much to many. We looked forward to the sequel, a bright spot during turbulent times, then we lose Chadwick and they put production in limbo.
This begged the question, who will be the next black panther? While Shuri is an important character and Letitia Wright is a fine actor, however I still think it is not the best fit. Here are my 5 reasons why a Black male should play Black Panther.
The balance of powerful characters of all genders was one of the most successful elements of Black Panther. the Dora Milaje was an impressive presence in the film. Shuri as Black Panther skews that balance, who will young black boys identify with?
4. Shuri the Genius or Shuri the Warrior or goddess
+Black Panther established Shuri as the most brilliant mind in Wakanda, possibly in the Marvel universe. A crown she wears well. If a woman was to be the Black Panther, the best choice would be Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, an already established badass. Coates, the current writer of Black Panther changed Shuri, to quote @klawsofwakanda “Her (Shuri) power set as Griot is very different from her time as a Black Panther in the comics. Very mystical in nature and differentiates her from T’Challa and the previous Black Panthers.” Shuri is now so much more.
Black Panther established Shuri as the most brilliant mind in Wakanda, possibly in the Marvel universe. A crown she wears well. If a woman was to be the Black Panther, the best choice would be Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, an already established badass. Coates, the current writer of Black Panther changed Shuri, to quote @klawsofwakanda “Her (Shuri) power set as Griot is very different from her time as a Black Panther in the comics. Very mystical in nature and differentiates her from T’Challa and the previous Black Panthers.” Shuri is now so much more.
There is Storm, whom many of us expect to see in the sequel. The new Black Panther could develop a relationship with the mutant goddess, and Lupita’s character could remain as her relationship was with T-Challa. The romance of Storm and the Black Panther is something Black fandom has been demanding after witnessing Black Panther in Wakanda.
2 Do not Underestimate What Black Panther Means to the Black Male
The significance of Black Panther as “the definitive black male superhero” cannot be overstated. Nor can his importance to the identity and esteem of many black males. No other hero comes close. There are countless stories of black boys finding a hero they could identify with, a character not birthed in bondage but royal, free and from an advanced kingdom. That story has echoed from black men from all walks of life, including director, Ryan Coogler. If the hype behind Black Panther the movie was driven by black culture, it was because those boys were now men, husbands, fathers, and grandfathers who shared that love of the character with their sons and daughters and granddaughters and grandsons. Boys who had grown up to be professionals and community leaders, who hyped up their wives’ daughters’ grandparents, girlfriend’s and significant others. Who rented theatres and buses and fundraise to send schools and churches. A hype that sold out theatres across the country. To change the character would be an insult to the males that identified with the character. The fever that existed in Black Panther 1, would be extinguished shortly after Black Panther 2.
1. When You Have a Winning Formula, Don’t Screw It Up
Black Panther earned $700 million of its $1,347,4 26,059 domestic, earning more in the US than Avengers and Infinity War, only Avengers Endgame made more in the states. Hollywood receives only 25% of international sales, meaning, Black Panther is a Disney cash cow. Do not screw up a winning formula.
Disney screwed up the magic that was Star Wars when they refused to allow Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie to share the screen in the Force Awakens.
Lana Wachowski decided fans of the Matrix, need not see the original three of the Matrix, by casting Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a young Morpheus in the fourth story in the Matrix series. Mateen is a fine actor and would make a good Black Panther. But Laurence Fishburne is Morpheus. I question if I am interested in seeing the Matrix 4. As of this writing; I am not.
In short, give the audience what they want, and they will give you their money.
When Ta Nehisi Coates took over as writer of Black Panther, sales of the book exploded, selling out, requiring reorders, but sales eventually dwindled. The Dora Milaje featured prominently in his first storyline, more so (in my opinion) than T-Challa. This was to set up a grand storyline. (read Coates trade paperback, it is an amazing story.)
Each month during that time I would discuss the latest issue with other brothers at Dr. Comics and Mister Games. Too often the response was “I don’t read it anymore, it’s not my Black Panther.”
Who I believe would make a good Black Panther?
3. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Black Manta in the DC Extended Universe superhero film Aquaman and Cal Abar in the HBO limited series Watchmen. For the latter, he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a
2. John David Washington
1. Michael B Jordan
Michael Bakari Jordan is an American actor and producer. He is known for his film roles as shooting victim Oscar Grant in the drama Fruitvale Station, boxer Adonis “Donnie” Creed in the Rocky sequel film Creed, and Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, all three of which were directed by Ryan Coogler.