I normally don’t do this, that is, dedicate a whole post to my opinion on a teaser trailer. The reason I skew from tradition is not necessarily because of the trailer itself but rather the things that happened before and after it. Yesterday afternoon I was scrolling through Facebook when an image (and the text attached to it) caught my attention. It was of a black man in a beautiful replica of Batman’s costume, clearly cosplaying The Dark Knight. The man went on to describe the bigotry and racial insults he had received at a comic book convention because of the fact that he – a black man – had dared to cosplay a traditionally white character.
These insults were, however, not the focus of the post. The man goes on to explain how he ran into a little black boy with his mother. The boy was instantly transfixed when he saw a ‘Black Batman’. The boy and the man then had an exchange, which according to the author went like this.
Little Boy: Batman, you’re brown, just like me! Does that mean that I can be a real superhero someday too? I don’t see a lot of brown superheros…
Black Batman: You can be any superhero you want to be and don’t ever let anyone tell you different. Being a brown superhero is a very special thing and I know you’re going to make a great one
This touched my soul. Accurate representation in film is an issue that’s close to my heart. I despise whitewashing! Whitewashing, however, is just a symptom of the true disease which is a lack of representation of the diversity in the world. When you look out into the world of fiction at the heroes that define, there’s a clear lack of racial and sexual diversity. From James Bond, to Dirty Harry; from Superman to Indiana Jones, we’re subliminally being taught that a ‘white man’ is the peak of excellence.
Enter the Black Panther teaser! Mere hours after seeing this post and thinking about who a person of colour has to look up to in film, Marvel drops a potential solution to my conundrum. I love this trailer! After seeing it I commented on how wonderful it is to see a movie being made BY black people FOR black people. The trailer oozes swag both from the characters on-screen to subtle things like the musical selection and style of the title card. Most importantly, it’s filled to the brim with black faces. Not black characters as plucky sidekicks or stereotypical criminals. It feels like a celebration of black excellence.
More important than the trailer itself has been the response to this trailer. I’m a huge fan of movies so the people and channels I subscribe to through my various social platforms were abuzz. This was normal, expected. What shocked me was the number of my friends and non-movie fanatics who were going on about the trailer. The Fast and Furious movies came and went without them saying a word. Avengers made BILLIONS without them knowing the difference between adamantium and vibranium; BUT Black Panther could NOT be denied!
I love how people have claimed the movie. They’ve made memes about how they’re going to dress to the premiere; they’re researching it, finding out about the character, I LOVE IT! One of the lies that Hollywood uses to justify whitewashing and poor representation as a whole is that a blockbuster movie without a white, male lead will not make money. So, it is crucial that we, as black people, go support this movie. Don’t wait to download it. Don’t wait for it to come to TV. Give it a huge weekend opening. Let’s have Black Panther make over $500 million! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of the genre or not.
Let’s stand up and make this movie A HIT!