Black Panther Cultural Impact

Was “Black Panther” as good as what I expected? Definitely not… it was even better! “Black Panther” may have been out in theaters for months already, but its hype has not deteriorated.

I went to see “Black Panther” the weekend it was released. Theaters were packed and tickets were selling out fast. Even a week after its release, the line to watch Black Panther had not decreased. Releasing the movie during a four day weekend could be the best decision that Marvel has made yet. But even with the nicely timed release, the movie of course would not have been a success without the great actors, and story line. There was never a dull moment in the movie. I was entertained the whole time. It had enough action, and some jokes here and there, elements that helped grasp the audience’s attention.

The one aspect that I loved about the movie was that it did not just touch the hearts of African-Americans, but also of immigrants. As an American, and daughter of immigrants, I could relate to this movie in various ways, but the one that impacted me the most was of the right to speak any language one pleases. In “Black Panther” there is a scene where the Wakanda general, Okoye,  speaks in her tribal language to T’Challa (Black Panther), while a CIA agent is in their presence. This leads the agent to ask T’Challa, instead of Okoye, “Does she speak english?” Okoye quickly responds in English with, “She speaks English when she wants to.” The moment she said that, the inner me was jumping with happiness, because finally someone on the big screen chose to speak up about this issue.

Throughout history, and even today, people in America are being told to ONLY speak English, or to NOT speak another language. Some even having the audacity to tell others that our soldiers aren’t fighting for us to speak other languages, that they are fighting for our “right” to speak “American.” People should not feel bad speaking in a language besides English in public, and most importantly, people should not be obliged to forget their native language in order to make others feel “comfortable.” I am tired of worrying about making others feel “uncomfortable.” I personally have never been afraid to speak Spanish in public, but I know for a fact that there are many others, children and adults, that do need this reassurance of being told that it is okay to speak another language. “Black Panther” encourages people of all ethnicities and ages to love their culture’s language.

Unfortunately, some children didn’t get the same encouragement from the movie. Or at least the young girl I heard talking in the bathroom didn’t. I was washing my hands after the movie and I overheard a young black girl talking to her mom about how she didn’t want to be like the general. The mom asked her why, and the little girl said that she did not want to speak “African.” I was devastated when I heard her say that, because it showed the negative affect society can have on the minds of the young, when it comes to the topic of speaking other languages. In America, any language besides English appears to be ugly, and it’s not okay and it must change.

Enough decades have passed for people to understand that America is a melting pot, and no one language is better than the other. This is why I thank Marvel for including this scene in “Black Panther,” and presenting the people of Wakanda as people who love their culture, and are proud and unafraid of speaking their language.

 

How to Get Through the Week: A 3 Step Guide

It’s no surprise to anyone that this past week has been nothing short of stressful and emotional, for everyone. Whether it be because of the recent political news, to ongoing civil rights movements, to something as simple and common as midterms, it’s been quite the ride for everyone.

So, with that said, here’s a three step guide to how I’ve gotten through the week, in hopes that it’ll lift your spirits and help you get through yours:

Make a playlist (Or five):

I have a tendency to make playlists based on what I’m feeling. Going out for a run or a good workout? Definitely have a playlist lined up to get me pumped, ranging from Fall Out Boy to Eminem. A little mellow on a rainy day? Nothing but jazzy tunes with Michael Buble and some good old Frank Sinatra. Lately, I’ve been needing a bit more of a positive boost of motivation and patriotism due to how our politics have been, and the Hamilton soundtrack never fails to get my day started.

(Disclaimer: I definitely try and rap along with the song, but it’s not exactly easy following in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s shoes.)

Bingewatch your favorite show:

Thank god for Netflix, right? You can’t go wrong with any form of a Netflix original series, from the recent hit, Stranger Things, to documentary series like Making a Murderer. Personally, I’ve been experimenting with series that have been around for awhile, like Mad Men and Scandal. But easy go to’s are always the Marvel Netflix series. (Here’s a hint: if you want to watch the “properly” the order is how the shows were released. Daredevil’s season one and two, then Jessica Jones, and finally Luke Cage. Definitely try to catch up before Iron Fist and The Defenders premieres sometime within the next couple of years.)

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(Source: Netflix via thumbs.mia.com)

And lastly, pick up something new.

Whether it be a new hobby/show/music choice or food, picking up something new is always a refreshing way to mix things up in your life. Because I work at a bookstore, treating myself to a new book is always a mood booster. Despite the continuously growing stacks of books in my room that I haven’t touched yet. Here’s the latest book I’ve added to my collection and currently reading through. Sam Maggs novel, “The Fangirl’s ‘Guide to the Galaxy” is not only 100% appropriate to have and own in my personal library, but it’s relatively accurate in the writing and just cute and empowering overall.

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(Source: Amazon.com)

And with that, I hope these little tips and tricks help you get through the week. Whether it be because of midterms or something much greater, let’s all just do our best to help each other grow and succeed in life as much as possible.

Also, if you found this topic interesting, or at the very least appreciate my subtle nerdy references and puns, I host an evening talk show on Saturdays at 7 PM PST! The show is called “Bingeworthy”, and I cohost the show with my friend Kentaro Kawasaki. Come tune in Saturday nights and follow us on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Soundcloud at @KCRBingeworthy.

(Header image source: Nickelodeon via Spongebob Squarepants)