Black Panther and The Power of Representation


By David McGuire

  Just like millions of others I went to the movies to see the highly anticipated film, Black Panther. The movie was a piece of black magic. To sit in a theater and watch a movie dominated by black actors and actresses was priceless.  Black Panther was the mirror for black people. We saw hopes, dreams, and a future. Fictional or not, it showed us what happens when black people stick together and look after one another. 

Black Panther is more than a movie it is a movement; it is a statement; it is a way of life. With so much going on in the world, this movie was needed. It showed real representation of black people.  

 As I watched the movie, I thought about the youth who would sit in the theater and look up and see a black superhero. I think about my students when they go see this movie because for many of them Black Panther and King T’Challa will be their hero.  Black Panther is their representation. It is that representation that brings to the forefront the beauty and greatness of their blackness.  Black Panther represents the power and creativity of black people. It shows what happens when black people set their minds to something and stick together. 

Black Panther also gives young people another story. According to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk, “children who are only exposed to a single story are prone to regurgitate that story because that is all they have ever known.” Black Panther now changes that narrative. It represents the richness and greatness of black people and the motherland. Adults and children can sometimes give in and be drawn to stories we see or hear. This movie represents a new story that inspires us and makes us proud. 

Black Panther represents the power of unapologetic blackness, similar to T’Challa taking his rightful place on the throne of mainstream culture. The representation in Black Panther allows for black actors such as Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, and Lupita Nyong’o to dominate the red carpet. For our black children, these actors and actress are now role models and heroes. 

Black Panther is the power of representation that will not go away. It is our ancestors wildest dreams.