On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, I attended “An Earth Day Journey: From 1970 to Wakanda—Black Panther and the Politics of Race and Sustainability” discussion with faculty from African American Studies, 12:00-1:00 pm in Robert Scott Small room 252. It begins talking about Earth Day that began in 1970 that was mainly a white movement. We need to diversify so we can have a healthy environment. This can be applied to the black panther. They had three speakers.
The first speaker was an alumni who graduated two years ago from College of Charleston. She focuses on comic books and other fun media. She begins saying Happy early Earth Day. Then, begins talking about the movie Black Panther and how it has made 1.3 billion dollars because money talks and people listen. Hollywood has put more diversity in movies because that is what people want. The media shapes our reality. She starts talking about cowboys and how they are known has rugged white men and how cowboys and Indians, in reality, are the same people. Through Hollywood, this perception has changed by bringing diversity into movies. She says media changes our reality and having a black cast helped change our reality for what is the future for black people. Shuri a character in the movie, had the opportunity to be smart in the movie. People need to be given the opportunity so they can get involved. The creator of the black panther was Hannah Belcher. Elements of Afro-Futurism which is about the future for black people. It is finally a future of black people not living with the heavy amount of oppression on their shoulders. The movie feels like we finally do not have to compete with new technology but we can use the technology we have now and be satisfied.
The next women talked about sustainability access. She talks about how the film Black Panther revealed a central conflict of the storyline which was access to resources and colonialism. The film gives us an entryway to Afrocentrism on intent to strip the land of sacred objects. Wakanda seizes its control on a resource. It articulates where the oppressed becomes the oppressor.
The last man begins to speak about ancestors and the earth. He deals with the ancestors and the earth often he says. Their remains are on the earth. He says he deals with the ancestors by knowing that they are present in the earth. He is a priest and his role is to serve the community to help them have access to the ancestors. In Wakanda, we saw the ancestors present in many ways. When they returned to the ancestors for wisdom. The ancestor’s role and power and need to be consulted. Although it was fictional it was real in an African context. He states that “we still seek access to the ancestors.” He says Shuri a character in the movie was not only given opportunity but given ancestors to access the knowledge she has. He says if you grew up in the U.S. than you probably grew up scared of ancestors because they are created as spooky and ghosts but do not believe that.
I really enjoyed the presentation that the African American Studies teachers displayed. It was very interesting. I have never seen the movie Black Panther but now I definitely want to go see it so I can get my own perspective. I also enjoyed how passionate they were about the history of racism and the future for African Americans.
Thanks for reading!
This sounds like a fascinating discussion! I wish I could have been there!