by Kenneth Braswell
I had the chance to experience watching Black Panther with my youngest daughter Nzinga. What make this so special is that the two of us shared a trip to Africa (Ghana) three years ago. The end result a documentary called “A Queen’s Discovery”
For me, watching Black Panther with the perspective of having been to Africa was special because I had a greater sense of translating the messages and imagery. It was great to see the beauty of Africa projected on the screen, but to know that being there was 100 times better, allowed me to absorb the story line with a greater sense of pride.
Yet, while I enjoyed my own experience watching Black Panther, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the 9 days my daughter and I spent in Africa together. She saw both perspectives, the high-end visual of seeing the film depict a story from a king’s eye view, and the reality of poverty that we experienced in Ghana. However, having said that, we both recognized that the continuum of honor, pride and cultural resonates in both experiences. Something that we could learn a lesson from in the U.S. Our condition doesn’t dictate we interpret our experience.
Poverty in and of itself is not a good thing when it forces us to choose between living and surviving. But what we learn from poverty and how we maintain our cultural values within the experience of poverty speaks to who we truly are as a people. Negro spirituals during slavery wasn’t about “woe is me,” as much as it was an indicator that even while we tell our story, we’re gonna do it from a position of humility, pride, honor and respect.
Much can be absorbed from Black Panther. My hope is that we use it as a motivational push to learn more about the level of pride and honor that we so desperately need in our community. The joy I have today is that I had the opportunity for my daughter (Queen Nzinga) to experience it for herself.