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Angela Bassett stars in both Panther movies

April 2, 2018

by Paradise Free Jah Love Supreme

Angela Bassett starts in “Black Panther” 2018.

Angela Bassett stars in “Panther” 1995

I watched two Black Panther movies today: “Panther,” the one put out by Mario and Melvin Van Peebles in 1995 and, in my opinion, prematurely discarded from theaters, and the new one by Marvel, “Black Panther.” Angela Bassett stars in both films and the span of 23 years has not cracked her beautiful Black!

In the first Panther movie she plays Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, making her first public appearance since her husband’s death, in San Francisco, where she is escorted by the Black Panthers as security. Three years before that she starred in “X,” by Spike Lee, also playing the role of Betty Shabazz, brilliantly!

The Panther movie set in Oakland is very violent, but no more so than the new Panther movie. So if you liked “Black Panther,” I encourage you to revisit “Panther,” which has a lot of strong on-point performances from Marcus Chong as Huey P. Newton and Courtney B. Vance as Bobbie Seale.

The Black star-studded cast also includes the late great Dick Gregory, Kadeem Hardison, Bobbie Brown, Kool Moe Dee, Chris Rock and Oakland’s own Marc Curry, Toni Tony Tone and the First Lady of the Panthers, Tarika Lewis! Legendary rapper Biggie Smalls has a bit part and practically every female rapper on the planet sings and performs on the closing “Freedom” song video!

Check it out! And let’s keep this Panther thang going while it’s hot! And ya don’t stop!

But the main reason I’m droppin’ this article is to share a poem I wrote after seeing the first Panther movie. It seems to be still pertinent:

Return of the Black Panther

I was the former enslaved African

Who ventured from the Motherland

As far as I could get

From the Southern plantation man!

Until I ran out of places and spaces to run

So like a coal Black Cat

Backed up against the ocean

I sprang up from my hands and knees

In Oakland-d-d-d-d-d-d-!

And exchanged my chains and shackles

For guns and rifles!

And I delivered food to the hungry

Fed my community

While seeking peace and prosperity

In my neighborhoods!

So I policed the police

Until they changed the rules

And made me illegal

Made it illegal to care

And care for your people

Our people, Black people!

Then they flooded our communities with drugs

And medicated us, like we had Drapetomania

Back in the day they called it an insane desire to be free

Cuz we waz sick and tired of being sick and tired

And used and abused!

And when we continued to refuse their medication

They spied on us! Lied on us! Fired on us!

And slithered some Uncle Toms in on us

Who replaced them

Until the blood from the crips

Of Panthers and SNCC

Colored red the sneakers

Of the living dead gangs of Bloods and Crips

In urban graves cross country

And today we cry G-E-R-O-N-I-M-O-O-O!

And if you kill Mumia, you kill me

And these Black Cats don’t play that!

A Panther won’t strike until attacked

But don’t pat me on the head

And expect to get your hand back!

Because these cats have nine lives

And a new generation of Panther litter

Is coming up, ultra mean and clean

And even though you banned our Panthology –

Our movie from the screen

The Panther is back!

Hisssssssssssss!

Paradise is president of the International Black Writers & Artists Local 5 in Oakland and was honored by the City of Oakland with “Paradise Day,” on Oct. 6, 2007. Find him on Facebook at Paradise Freejah Lovesupreme.

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