I look forward to seeing Ryan Coogler's interpretation of the Marvel character "Black Panther." That America has now progressed to a point where a black man leading a predominantly black cast in an epic superhero movie set in a fictional African nation can look forward to grossing upward of $170 million on its opening weekend is nothing short of astounding.
Several weeks ago, people criticized me for pointing out that the film's box office predictions heavily contradict the Left's gross characterization of America as a racist plantation that keeps black Americans from achieving professional success. Contrary to the SJW slander, I never said the success of "Black Panther" signified a post-racial society or even that whites are buying the most tickets. My point was that if racism is worse than ever, as pop-star Justin Bieber put it several months ago, then "Black Panther" wouldn't even be allowed to exist, not to mention grossing upward of $100 million domestically.
When it comes to filmmaking, or all of storytelling for that matter, I'm not one for politicization. Stories, the best of them, at least, are about lifting humanity out of their confined box of existence onto a plain of universal human emotions, transcending us to a place of deeper understanding. When a story allows political ideology to supplant emotional truth, it ceases to be a story and instead becomes propaganda.
Given director Ryan Coogler's body of work and the talent involved (I personally am a big fan of actor Daniel Kaluuya), as well as the film's rave reviews, I have little doubt "Black Panther" achieved this rather Herculean task in spades. Coogler deserves a round of applause and I look forward to an epic time at the movies this weekend.
What I don't look forward to, and this was true with "Wonder Woman," is the borderline fanatical response to it from the cultural Left. Writing for THR, SJW Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went as far to compare "Black Panther" to the unveiling of a statue to Rosa Parks or MLK.
"It's a little like witnessing the unveiling of an enormous statue on the public square — with the public square being the world — of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela dressed in bright dashikis," wrote the former basketball star. "It's an homage to who we were, a celebration of who we are and an inspiration for what we hope to become."
The New York Times simultaneously asked if it was appropriate for white kids to dress up as "Black Panther."
As I've already admitted, "Black Panther" is a cultural milestone I look forward to witnessing, but this "for blacks only" attitude expressed by Abdul-Jabbar and others has dark consequences that splits people apart, not bring them together. Case-in-point, this tweet:
If all "Black Panther" can achieve culturally is whites going to the movie theaters apart from black Americans and only black children dressing up as the character for Halloween, then our country took a wrong turn somewhere between "I have a dream" and "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
Now, I don't believe that will be the case. I believe black Americans and white Americans will go to the movie theaters this weekend and enjoy something together, because that's what stories do. The Left is trying to drive a wedge into that unity though, and for that, I'm saying now: get your hands off "Black Panther."