Black Panther's WAKANDA AND MARCUS GARVEY Is There A Relationship between them???

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

By now, a goodly number of us have had the pleasure of seeing the movie BLACK PANTHER - and have been blown away with the awesomeness and magnitude of how truly wonderful and massive our Black culture, and we Black people, truly are. 

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The Honorable Marcus Garvey seated in a place of honor -
Garvey was a super hero in his own right
Notice how ornate the chair is 

February is Black History Month - a fitting and proper time for the release and introduction of such a magnificent Black film - and make no mistake about it, regardless of how many whites you may see in an ancillary position, this IS A BLACK FILM - top to bottom, front to back, side to side - 

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Regardless of what our militant, or christian, or negrified, or activist, or African or African American/American African brothers say, of those who try to detract from it by trying to throw shade on the story and its writers, and originators:    THIS IS A BLACK FILM.  And  I am so proud of us - them - all.

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There seems to be a need to downplay the Black superhero angle of the story, as if we are somehow being duped by such a concept.  As one who cut her teeth on reading at the tender age of three, when my uncle introduced me to my first hero, CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, I say you're full of it.  I seriously doubt if there are many among us - especially you guys - who didn't read some sort of comic book - well, at least the guys in my age group - when you were kids. We started out with Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and perhaps the plethora of science fiction oriented comic books. 

Truth be told, all young people need superheroes - and if we don't give them good ones, they tend to fashion their own out of whatever is around.  It's a natural part of human nature. Imagination is the beginning of creation.  Nothing that you see anywhere around you was created without first using you imagination  - and it's much better to have one that centers around something positive and empowering, than otherwise - so Superhero versus gang activity, drug dealers, dope, shoot outs - which do you prefer? 

 As a kid, I was a comic book junkie.  Read them from beginning to end, and sometimes over again.   I loved the drawings, the action, the thought bubbles, the imagnative speech, the story line that is either concluded, or continued in the next comic book.  Did you know they even had a comic book where there was a Black Prince and a white prince from Natal South Africa - can't remember his name, but remember that he was drawn very handsomely, and they were friends.  

At the age of 7 I had no concept of conflict in Africa or racism.   I didn't find out about that until I was 10, but that did not stop my love for GOOD COMIC BOOKS - not the stuff that you see today.  Our comics only cost 10 cents then, and I didn't long to see a Black hero or heroine, 
I was in for the story line - pure and simple.  I thought it was amazing that the writers could tell a story like that with just those pictures and dialogue and you could actually follow it.   I didn't just read about superheroes,  I also read  Bugs Bunny, Nancy and Sluggo, Sylvester and Tweetie - along with Captain America, Red Ryder,  Katie Keen,  Archie Comics, Millie the Model - and the list goes on.   It had nothing to do with whether white comic  books had Black characters. Actually, for me, it still doesn't. 

 I eventually outgrew my love of comics and graduated to MAD MAGAZINE - at 15, I was more sophisticated and knowledgeable then; a veteran Civil Rights Activist, and loved their tongue in cheek jabs at the government.  That did not stop my love for Comic books - just changed the selection somewhat. 

By the time my Handsome son became an adolescent, the kids were reading Teen Age Mutant Ninjaa Turtles, and The Transformers; and he was illustrating his own comic books -  I used to wonder whether or not he somehow vicariously got that through my genes - LOL.  Though I never drew - my sister was the family artist - I was the family bookworm/actress/activist. When I found out that they had gone from 10 cents to one and two dollars, that took it totally off my wavelength.  I didn't care who the super hero was!!  I thought, what a gyp!! Charging little kids so much money for a pleasure they should have every right to. By the way, the cost of the comic did not sully their love or their interest - and when Comicon came around, my son was right there with the rest of them - totally knowledgeable about the heroes - especially the new Black comic book heroes who were now coming on the horizon. 

That was the first time I heard about Black Panther the Comic Book - not much, but a beginning of something that Black kids could relate to. This was the early 80s, when Derek Dingle, now Vice President of Black Enterprise, and a group of Black artists, had begun the development of the Black Panther as a Comic Book series.  Of course, I didn't know about it at the time, and probably would not have ever known, had SyFX not run a special on The Black Panther Comic Book at 3:00AM - my prime time for writing - and there he was, along with Reginald Hudlin.  Of course, there we were again, trying to cram too many messages into a simple story, and the upshot of the Comic book was that it jeopardized the good standing with the publishers; and after a few more jabs against protocol, met its demise.   

And now, here we are, and it's only 1l days since I saw the movie, the Black Panther, and my head, like the rest of yours, is still full of the imagery that filled the screens.  The one thing  thought as I was leaving was, wow, I wish I had seen this in 3-D!!  

The other thoughts hadn't come quite as swiftly.  It had to marinate for a while. I hadn't been prepared for so much Afrocentricism; I  really hadn't  done that much in the way of research about the movie or the story line.  I was going for two reasons:  I love Chadwick Boseman's work, and consider anything he's in worth seeing, no matter what it's about.  Two, my Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated was hosting a special Red Carpet for the movie, which is what we do when we honor, respect and support the artists, the theme, and the actors - it was held in Philly at the UA Regal Cinema on Christopher Columbus - they sold out so fact that even I didn't get a ticked, so I say it at the Regal in Manayunk - so that  would at least be able to support the movie in its opening week.  So glad I did that!  Amazing, fantastic, epoch making, inspiring, all the accolades and the some!!! (PS: Don't you just love it when they called the white guy "COLONIZER?" LOLOLOLOL)

So, when I had an AHA moment the otter evening- and it really made me go hmmmmm.......  Wakanda is so much more than a futuristic land of highly intelligent, highly technologically and spiritually aware BLACK people.  Wakanda is who we would have become, had the greatest Afro-Futurist of all time, MARCUS GARVEY,  succeeded in returning BLACK PEOPLE to Africa in the 1920s. Wakanda is who we would have become, who we would have evolved into - African/African Americans - repatriating back to our homeland, taking with us the technology and skills and education, and melding with the technology, skills, traditions, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of our African Brothers and sisters, who had been colonized and subjugated as well. 

Wakanda is the consolidation of the best of the best of who we are - a full reunification of ourselves with ourselves, and taking all that we are and building something so splendid, superior, and scientifically off the chain, it defied the imagination or accomplishment levels of most whites.
Garvey  knew that we were wasting and our lives here in America among our oppressors; by the same token, there were parts of Africa where the colonizers were still dictating and destroying African societies.  

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Garvey's exhortation, up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you WILL, is written all over Wakanda - it's every where - Garvey knew that, unleashed to just be, do, have and expand, Black people can create wonders.  Without white interference, we would proliferate life-giving, spirit raising, joy making, programs that benefit all of us - not just a handful.  He knew we would seek the highest level of education for us all.  Rather than wars and hostile competitions, there would naturally be exhibition games and feats of wonder that we would indulge individual and collective challenges, and progress on our own merits without detracting from those of others. It's basically who we already are - but even more so.  

Wakanda is not a world of B-words, n-words, brothers hanging their pants off their behinds; it's not a world where some flourish while others starved.  It was not a world where Black people were afraid of, or mistrustful of each other.  If you look at the pictures of Garvey - long before there was any concept of a Black super hero, and you will notice that he dressed like a king,  even in the 20s.  He led large groups of Black people -more than 12 millon - people who he inspired to own their own homes, start their own businesses, run their own schools, hospitals, social clubs - marry and honor each other.  No bleached blonde, or processed hair of wannabes, but Black men and women who were accomplished and proud of who they were. 

Ryan Coogler, in an interview, specifically stated that they were very careful to depict only natural hair styles, so that Black men and women in Africa and other parts of the world would be proud of who they are in their most natural essence.  
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But Garvey's world, like Wakanda, is also about transformation - and that is what this represents.  There were people who had been through hell at the hands of whites in the America of the 1920s who suddenly found someone who saw them for who and what they were and taught them to take pride in it, and not be afraid.

It was about people like Malcolm Little's parents (also known as Malcolm X), who raised their children on being united and self sufficient, and were persecuted by jealous, hostile, ignorant, backwards, hateful murderous whites for their efforts.   This made Garvey realize all the more that Africa is the only place where Black people can truly be Black people - productive, healthy, happy, prosperous in their own land.  It's that truth that  caused my Grandmother, who was a beautiful Cherokee woman married to my grandfather - a Fine Black Man -  after seeing their hostility-  to become a part of the Garvey movement in Oklahoma. - after crazy whites threatened to burn them off the 180 acres of land they owned and had been thriving on.  She felt sure that they and their six children (my mother, her four sisters, and one brother) would do better in Africa than on the Texas Oklahoma border, where whites would sneak across and try to intimidate them.  Garvey's message of UP YOU MIGHT RACE, YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH WHATEVER YOU WILL!"  came through loudly and clearly - and Black in the day they didn't have TV, Cinema, cell phones, instagram, Facebook, or any of the other modern conveniences.

I am taking nothing away from Ryan Coogler, who no doubt had his own epiphany when he visited Africa: 
https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/ryan-coogler-why-i-needed-to-make-black-panther-w517100    I'm willing to bet these are some of the images and visions  that were in his subconscious  mind - his psyche for quite some time.  Thank God he put that vision out there for us all.  It's much too strong, too visceral for these to just been special effects, engineered for the please and amusement of a Black audience.  This brother had a mind meld with the African Holy Spirit!!

This truth is that our own "Wakanda in us" has been around for 95 years, since Garvey led his first parade down the streets of New York City.  The problem is that because he chose to make it public, in order to wake other Black people up, the whites began to do what they could to destroy it  However, that would not have been so bad; if they don't want Black people to flourish in America, surely they would have no objection to our returning home to our homeland - Africa - where we would be of no further bother to them; where we, at last, would no longer live in shanties, be treated as second class citizens, where we  reunite with our own people; because apart, nether of us are very happy or effective, but united, we would thrive, grow and take our rightful place in the world.  Surely whites - especially red necked racist, confederate flag waving lynching lying, raping crackers - would be especially happy to see the last of our Blackness.  

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Garvey took investments from the members to pool their money, start the Black Star Line Luxury Ocean Liner Company and purchase  the three ships to return home and build our own Wakanda.  Can you imagine if we had been left alone and allowed to do so, where we would be today nearly 100 years later?  We,  the geniuses behind the internet, the incandescent light bulb, the traffic light, the iron and the ironing board, the - you name it, we did it - look it up!!! And TV would have been an entirely different thing if we had invented it.  

This was in Garvey's mind, his dreams, his imagination.  He spoke beauty and power into us, and  so we arose and prepared to return home to Africa.  And as we were doing so, whites  sold us "Leaking Lena" ships that were  either not seaworthy, or deliberately sabotaged.  Then they charged Garvey with  bogus mail fraud allegations, fed us a made up religious movement, and did all they could to block, thwart the development of a place where we  RE-AFRICANIZED AMERICANS could at last leave the horrors of racism and jim crowism behind.  And why was that, you ask:  Greed, jealousy, selfishness - Great Britain and the US and the Good Year Rubber and Tire company were afraid that if we came back, they would no longer be able to bamboozle millions of Africans out of their lands and steal the rubber for tires.  The diamond thieves knew that they would no longer be able to exploit Africa's diamonds - with Africans and African Americans re-united - things would change dramatically.  Not with a Killmonger type of hostility, but a glad to be home/glad to have you back home unity.  

Garvey's vision for us was in a kingdom of our own, in Africa, with our own people, working together in an communalistic society, developed and maintained for the pleasure and benefit of all.  I.E.  For African people, by African people and of African people.  And if you read his works, you can see it in his speeches, his concepts, his philosophies.  

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Garvey didn't go around trying to find out how many whites were in his family tree, or talking about reconciliation - he was more than well aware of all the wonderful things we had done, and would surely continue to do;  as was Dr. Carter G. Woodson who extolled all the powers and mighty accomplishments of Black people though his historic research and writings; just as had W.E.B. du Bois, who did in depth research on Black people and laid out in epistemological sociological research and study.  

We have the genius, creativity, intelligence, skill, knowledge, and capacity to create a WAKANDA right now today, and shame on us if we don't.  We've had Wakanda in us all along - this is why we resonated so strongly and so viscerally to the movie  - and I  think of what that really means.  Had this vision/dream/aspiration not  already been there,  lurking in our subconscious, in our genes, in our DNA, in our very being - crossing all age barriers and generations, we probably would not have even seen this as anything more than a good science fiction movie.  We would have enjoyed it and talked about the special effects; how beautiful Angela Bassett looked, how fine both Chadwick Boseman and Killmonger were.  We would have definitely talked about how proud we were of Lupita Nyong'o  and her natural beauty, but the fad would have worn off in a few days and we would have been on to the next JZ or Beyonce~like person. 

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But Wakanda hit home so powerfully!!!  You could see and feel the transformation of the entire audience as we shared a collective "WOW!!' as a sense of intense pride welled up in us - from those of us who were in the movie theatre, through the directors, actors, technicians, stunt men and women, down to the smallest role played in the production and portrayal of the movie - that collective WOW was - Look at us!  Look who we are!  Look who we can become! Look what we can do!  Look what we can produce.  The profound sense of,  "I told you so!, I knew it all the time.    This is what I'm talking about!"  We resonated to Wakanda because it was in our soul, as  originally enunciated by Garvey in 1923, and brought to fruition by Coogler in 2018 - 95 years later.

Getting inside their heads and seeing us through their eyes - their colossal belief in and love for Black people, this is how they walked around in their souls all their lives!!

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Don't for one moment doubt that we couldn't create Wakanda right now, today, in Africa and make it as magnificent and even more wondrous than the one depicted in Black Panther! Because we can. However the issue is more like this: Now that the secret is out, will we?  Will we now own up to our genius and make it happen?  Will we, like four of the five tribes of Wakanda - consolidate, amalgamate, synthesize, and unify our genius and create out own Wakanda.  Drop the artificiality of tribe, geography, education, wealth (or lack thereof), and roll up our collective sleeve, and collectively make it a reality.   I keep emphasizing Africa - because I seriously doubt that we could create a kind of autonomous Black world here in America -were the depraved become president, with millions of immoral morons as his followers.  

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We possibly could have some limited, altered version of it here in America; but we run the risk of shootings, raids, allegations, aspersions and all manner of attacks against us by jealousness, rogue cops,  compounded with hate and aggression.  The US, as it is truly constituted, would be the last place Garvey would have chosen.  He galvanized the 12 million  oppressed Black men and women throughout the US to unite and began to demonstrate their true African heritage and creativity.  The white backlash was terrible, and was why he tried to purchase ships to transport us all back to our Motherland where we could safely BEGIN BEING  who we really were/are all along. And Brother Ryan Coogler, without really knowing it, channeled this vision through his creative genius onto the big screen for us all to see; in glorious color, big as life and infinitely more beautiful than even he would have described.   And we all got the message, the injection at the same time.  The innoculation was a success - the patient lives!  We are now energized, inspired, motivated, activated, and regenerated!!!  We've got work to do!!

Wakanda is now viral in our systems.  We are now inoculated against the miasma of mediocrity that whites have been trying to inundate  and contaminate us with, using their minions and ministries of mis-education, misdirection, social disintegration through their warped social meanstream media.   Through the Black Panther and Wakanda, we have seen the Victors and it is us!!! 

Now is the time for life begin to imitate art and develop Wakandas of our own - here in our communities, in our neighborhoods - and for those of you who can - at home in our Motherland Africa!  


Stay Blessed&

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