Blog Entry Narrative Change

Wakanda For a Night

by Dr. Angelique Johnson

A friend asked me recently, “Why did Life development Corporation and Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center choose Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER to celebrate? Why THIS particular black film?”

What he wanted to know was, why had the organizations gone to such great lengths to rent an entire theater, replicate a series of posters, energize a whole city and throw a major celebration in response to a preview? What was it we felt during the film’s trailer that had us waiting with bated breath for two years? The answer comes down to two simple words: Unapologetic and Empowered.

When we were young, we wanted to be superheroes. However, as we got older, the world slowly drained even the occasional fantasy of hero-dome out of us. Now in our adult lives, as African Americans, we spend more time living under systemic oppression than in authority. Then, we caught our first glimpse of BLACK PANTHER. In a short two-minute clip, many of us were taken back to those youthful days of fantasy and possibility. 

We saw our true selves: beautiful, powerful, unapologetic, highly intelligent, emotionally dynamic and uncontaminated by external stereotypes.

We saw ourselves as superheroes plagued by the injustices of the world, but ever-able to gracefully outsmart, overpower, and strategically exact our economic prowess. In the nation of Wakanda, we knew where we came from. We knew our ancestors by name. We were from a long line of kings and queens, and home was both peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. The organizations put the energy into celebrating this particular film, because we wanted to take the possibilities of Wakanda from fantasy to reality. 

The paradox of disenfranchisement is the opportunity for ownership.

Our goal is to empower people to own their own corporations, wealth and God-given destiny. Towards that goal, we realized that the best way to recreate Wakanda was to first experience it. So, for a night, we did just that.

We strolled the black carpet like the kings and queens we are, decked out in regal garbs and surrounded by the sounds of rhythmic drums.  We consumed food with an intensity of flavors that were matched only by the surrounding art; living, visual and cinematic.

Before the intellectual thought pieces were written; the back and forth debates over the “bastardization” of Eric Killmonger; before concerns over what Walt Disney Studios earned versus Black communities; even before we all yearned to get an official Wakanda stamp in our passport book; for a brief night, in a small theatre in Louisville Kentucky, we were already there.

Dr. Angelique Johnson is the Entrepreneurial Lead for Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center, and the CEO of MEMStim LLC. You can follow her on Twitter @Dr_Angelique.


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