We Can Still Heal… No Wahala

Flight to WakandaDays have passed, the box office numbers are undeniably record-breaking, and the cast of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has injected a rush of African Pride into our veins.  I don’t want to come down from this high, but we need a reality check.

 

  • The flight to Wakanda offered by United is NOT REAL.  It’s sad.  I know.
  • The think-pieces promoting negativity around the production of this movie are steadily increasing, and it’s really pathetic.
  • Worst of all, the relations between Africans and African-Americans still needs healing.

Resent

black panther erik killmonger stevens
Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens (played by Michael Bakari Jordan) is fueled by the anger of oppression and disenfranchisement by his oppressors, The Colonists and his people, The Wakandans.

The fusion of real African cultures, language, and scenery presented as Wakanda is cinematic genius, but the torrid history that exists between the Wakandan-American, Killmonger and the Wakandan King, T’Challa is one of the most accurate depictions of the relations between many African-Americans and Africans in today’s society.  The deep level of resentment expressed through the character Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens, was felt world-wide by movie-goers.

Jordan delivers Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens with accurate brilliance, allowing the audience to watch an innocent, gifted child victimized by racism and oppression, internalize pain.  Over time, this pain transforms to a passion that’s engulfed in bitterness and vengeance, with the strength to destroy a nation.

“Maybe we can still heal you…”

Endure

I am second-generation Sierra-Leonean, born and raised in the United States.  My childhood was sensitive; I grew up with racist Whites and angry Blacks that overtly and secretly despised Whites.  I grew up with boys just as angry as Killmonger.  Add Africans into the mix and it gets tricky.  Many of my peers categorized me as an African, resenting and isolating me. I was made fun for having parents from Africa with thick accents.  African Booty Scratcher.  Big Lip Bitch.  Ugly Darkie.  My hair was always braided, and therefore considered short and ugly.  I was forced to embrace my studies because hanging out at the mall was foolish, according to my parents.  In many ways, I was an outcast at school.

 Maybe we can still heal you…”

 

West African Culture
African Parties = Life!!!

Heal

Although that was my childhood, I was healed.  I was saved from becoming a bitter African Woman by my African-American friends.  Not all African-Americans are mean.  Not all African-Americans are ignorant about Africans and Africa.  Some reached out and embraced me.  Those friends celebrated me when I didn’t have the courage to celebrate myself.  Let’s be honest… I introduced them to African food and dancing.  When they came over for a birthday party, heard the music and ate the food, the rest is history.  They realized just how connected we all are.  African parties win every time!  I’m blessed because my friends that embraced me then, are still my friends today.  It’s been almost 20 years, and our bonds are stronger than ever.

“Maybe we can still heal you…”

See

It’s important that we see the pain in each other.  The Black Community of Africans and the African Diasporans must come together.  We must have honest conversations, which means actively listening to each other, forgiving one another, and creating safe spaces for us to thrive in our communities and be actionable.  It is time to open are minds and our hearts to one another.  What’s most important is that we really see each other.  Turning a blind eye to your fellow man’s pain, it’s just not right.  This conversation must happen between us.  We don’t know enough of each other’s history and we must find a way.  We have a right to have commonality, and we owe it to ourselves. It’s for us, and it should be by us. African Diasporans & Africans

“Maybe we can still heal you…”

Forgive

Suppose King T’Challa wanted to save the embattled soul of his cousin Killmonger, even more so than his physical body when he said to him “Maybe we can still heal you…”.  The real tragedy is that Killmonger could not see beyond his own death.  The possibility of existing in a world without death and destruction of his oppressors was just unfathomable to him.  Forgiveness was not an option.  He chose death over the possibility of forgiveness.  King T’Challa did otherwise.  He had to forgive his ancestors and himself.  He also had to forgive Killmonger.  Forgiveness allowed him to maintain his throne,  move forward and make changes with an open mind and open heart.

 

A Tool to Uplift

Let this movie be more than just a moment of pride because the African Diasporans and others showed up and showed out.  Yes, we proved the naysayers wrong about movie sales, the talent exhibited from an All-Black Cast in Hollywood, and we did it in the most elaborate Cosplay/African Fashion series yet seen.

lupita blackpanther premier
Lupita Nyong’o Slays in Fashion at The ‘Black Panther’ Premier

However, while it is important to prove others wrong when doubt is cast against your community simply because of race, I think it’s more important that you prove your greatness within your community in order to uplift your race.

I believe Ryan Coogler and the cast of Black Panther want this movie to be used as a tool in Black Communities worldwide.  It should encourage the dialogue that will lead to the real healing needed between Africans and the African Diasporans.  There is a lot that the African can teach the African Diasporan and there is a lot that the African Diasporan can teach the African.

        “Maybe we can still heal you…”

 

        “Maybe we can still heal you…”

Let’s drop the ‘Maybe’.

         We can still heal.

It won’t be easy, but it’s time to heal each other… together.

IMG_20180221_162206
#WAKANDAFOREVER

 

Listen to this episode and more at NO WAHALA… The Podcast.  Hosted by I Am…Gayima.

Follow @iamgayima on all social media platforms.     Website: iamgayima.com

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