Tag: Ryan Coogler
The 50th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) opened with a reverent and celebratory tribute to the ancestors and welcome to those present. Presented by Daktari Dance Medicine Collective, 50 dancers, drummers and cultural workers sprinkled medicine into the hearts and minds of those in the grand hall that night. From the welcome call, Fanga Alafia, to the “Invocation and Libation,” Diaspora dances Yanvalou, Parigol and Ogum and Spoken Medicine, the theme for the 50th Annual Conference “Building for Eternity,” June 27-July 1, 2018, was evoked, ratified and confirmed.
I have always said that if you want to understand the nature of a thing, you must research its origin. I would venture to say that the iconic freedom fighter and servant of the people Malcolm X was the first “Prison Panther,” although he was not known officially as such. However, when Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966 at Merritt College in Oakland, California, the legacy of their hero, OUR HERO, Malcolm X was on their mind.
Black Panther in a nouveaux peacock chair making deals with the CIA! I am like hold up?! Are you out of your mind? This must be a slapstick thrown in to distract and confuse the audience who do not know their history and who probably believe it’s OK to share secrets with the U.S. government. Like Okoyo, the CIA is all about meddling in international affairs that threaten white supremacy and its economic and military dominance. Wakanda has a seat in the U.N. Council.
Hollywood films should always come with a consumer health warning to people of African descent: “Beware of ‘The Ideology of the Aesthetic,’ as Terry Eagleton would put it.” With all the hype, “Black Panther: Long Live the King” falls under this manipulative ideological warfare genre and should have been subtitled, “Down With the King,” for subscribing to what Wole Soyinka would dismiss as the pseudo tradition of neo-Tarzanism.
The most revolutionary aspect of the film “Black Panther” is the mere fact that it showcases the beauty, history, relevance and capability of being simply Black and proud. I relate this strongly with the stigma many Black Americans have towards Africa, mainly visible in the lack of interest in visiting the vast continent of 54 countries. Moreover, the plague of insecurity that rests in Black people with their appearance and desire to look more European.
Coogler’s “Panther” has a terrible counter-revolutionary message. It's overall politic message tells you that since you cannot be the Black Panther character, king of Wakanda, you can be a CIA agent like T’Challa’s right hand man. But before I get into that, let me tell y’all what I think is great about this box office record breaking Disney-Marvel film. The cinematography is phenomenal. The costumes and the colors are on another level. The sets are beautiful.
“Black Panther” follows T’Challa/Black Panther’s journey, in the aftermath of his father’s death, to lead his technologically advanced nation, Wakanda, which the world believes is impoverished. Featuring Black actors from the United States, England and various parts of Africa, “Black Panther” is the first Marvel film set in a Black-ruled nation. As such, the film challenges the negative stereotypes in which the world typically views African nations.
Elaine Brown’s “A Taste of Power,” a memoir which chronicles her leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense when co-founder Huey P. Newton is imprisoned, still resonates with me. The idea that a Black woman is nominated to the leadership position of the most powerful civic organization in the country at that time is still remarkable and speaks to what Kathleen Cleaver calls revolutionary imagination.
Tambay Obenson, founder of Shadow and Act, a collective of writers, filmmakers, film critics and film enthusiasts, all interested in discussing primarily film and filmmakers of the African Diaspora, recently announced a plea to save his online film collective, which will be discontinued at the end of the month if it is not saved by other filmmakers and supporters.
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
Who could forget the murder of Oscar Grant by BART policeman Johannes Mehserle on a platform on Jan. 1, 2009. That murder, caught by other BART passengers on video that quickly went viral, sparked a movement for justice that led to the first conviction of a killer cop in California history. Because of the work of the Oscar Grant Foundation, an award-winning movie is telling Oscar’s story. It’s called “Fruitvale Station.”
There are not a lot of films where young Black men, throughout all of our tribulations with the police, the streets and society’s stereotypes, are able to be seen as protectors and providers for their family. “Fruitvale Station” is a great movie that people should go see, especially young Black males, because it is our story and it is told in such a delicate way, where you realize there are no angels and demons.
“Fruitvale,” the award-winning movie about the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, is set to debut in mid-June in Los Angeles. I caught up with the Bay Area’s own Ryan Coogler to talk about the film. I had some questions about why this film did not include the life and death of Lovelle Mixon and would it be able to be used as a weapon against police terrorism. Read Ryan Coogler’s answers in his own words.