All Skinfolk Ain’t Kinfolk in Wakanda Forever
*Warning: Ain’t nothing but spoilers in this bitch.
Black Panther 2, Wakanda Forever, was a beautiful ride, heartbreaking but beautiful, just like real life. Taking the time to honor the loss of its star is something one rarely sees in this white supremacist capitalist hellscape. That Ryan Coogler was able to do so in such a huge and tightly controlled franchise is, frankly, amazing. We live in a society that demands to see our family’s death certificates before approving any days off, and the number of days diminishes quickly based on how your employer values your relationship. I get three paid days off for a grandparent or sibling and five for a parent. Everyone else is zero or whatever paid time off I’ve accrued. To be able to incorporate real-life mourning into a billion-dollar franchise is unbelievable. Yet, that is what Coogler did and I am here for it.
The loss of Chadwick Boseman, and by extension, his portrayal of T’Challa, has wide-reaching implications throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the first one being Wakanda’s relationship with the western world. The scene with Queen Ramonda in the United Nations very clearly demonstrated the global perspective of Wakanda. A nation that had successfully protected itself from western cannibalization, that had revealed itself via patriarchal leadership, now stood, valuable and presumed weak without a male leader. The U.S. ambassador opened by chastising Wakanda for refusing to share its resources with them while the U.S. collaborated with other western nations to attack Wakandan facilities using stolen tech created by a Black amerikkkan woman. The western countries were doing everything in their power to avoid treating the nation of Wakanda as a peer, using the “by any means necessary” approach that western society is known for executing. The entitlement roared from the screen but little did I know just how large a role entitlement would play in the rest of this movie.
When we meet Namor, it is not as a peer, but as someone who wanted to show the sovereign of Wakanda that she was weak and vulnerable, a direct contrast to who she portrayed in the U.N. I remember watching that scene and wondering why Queen Ramonda reacted as strongly as she did. Upon reflection, I…