The data keeps streaming in, and the signs are clear: black people can support a film in which they’re properly represented. We’ve been saying this for years to anyone who would listen. But, what did we get? More coonery, more gangster films and more silliness.
But, with Black Panther, we see something that acknowledges our hearts eternal desire, freedom. People get it vastly twisted regarding freedom. For, it simply isn’t a matter of being able to come and go as we chose, or to do whatever we wish. True freedom is mental.
So, with an instinctual need to see black freedom manifest in some manner, even fictional, millions of Americans of African descent flocked to the theater to do their part in making Black Panther a historic success that rocked out with a $242 million opening weekend.
They say black don’t support, huh? Black don’t sell, right? Man, they be LYIN’! Theater revenue was up 56 percent over the weekend average in Atlanta, 31 percent in Washington and 81 percent in Memphis, according to Walt Disney Co., which distributed the film from its Marvel Studios division.
According to some estimates, theaters are suffering through a 25-year low in attendance. Poor representation, crappy movies, bootleg sellers and overused plot formulas aside, it’s difficult to definitively say what caused those lows in decades past. But Black Panther, with great representation, great community support and a wildly original plot, seems to be the elixir. Yep, it makes you say “Hmmm…” Shout outs to Arsenio Hall.
Here is Trailer 2 for Black Panther
“Everyone is claiming Wakanda,” Vanessa Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s guild group, said of the film’s fictional kingdom. Kelly attended a Feb. 15 screening with about 150 of the organization’s members, many in West African-inspired prints or dressed all in black like the title character. “We’re all just claiming Wakanda as a universal country. There was so much pride over the representation of seeing our culture on screen.”