On my 10th Wedding Anniversary evening, the best time from which the family could get good seating at the opening of Black Panther was the 11:30pm showing. And even though it was a late night evening, they could have started the movie at 1 a.m. and I still would have gone to see it. And believe me, this movie did not disappoint. Since I had spoke earlier in the day at the Young Magnet Middle School for their Men's Conference, I still had on my African shirt that I wore. Here are five things that I loved about this movie:
A movie rises or falls based on the people who are in the film. Black Panther had a stellar cast who turned in wonderful performances. Even though this was a super hero movie, there was nothing cartoonish about the performances of Chadwick Boseman in the lead role of T'Chaka/Black Panther. They never give Academy Awards to movies such as this but the star power in this film was second to none with strong supporting performances by Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker.
Positive Black Role Models
In this film you see black people portrayed as intelligent and morally upright characters who do noble things. Yes Michael B Jordan's character does some pretty mean and hurtful things but, after all, he was playing the role of a villain in the film. King T'Challa lead his people from a principled center perspective and had to wrestle with some pretty tricky moral delimmas during the movie. Although he had great super powers, violence was not his answer to every conflict that arose.
No one can accuse this film of not having strong female roles in it. Danai Gurira (Michonne on The Walk Dead) was the general of the Wakanda military and T'Challa's sister Shuri was the Wankandian version of James Bond's Q with new technology that would make the Bond counterpart salivate. Angela Bassett was regal in her portrayal of Ramonda, Queen Mother of Wakanda. There is a strong emphasis on family relationships in the film which is in line with African culture.
I am a big fan of movie soundtracks and the music in this film was appropriate without getting in the way. There were a number of hip hop tracks but they we're so over the top as to be annoying or forced into the film simply because it was black-centric film. I will have to see the film again and pay more attention to the soundtrack before I add the soundtrack to my music collection.
Having traveled to Africa eight times already, I am already aware of the breathtaking scenery and views that exist on the continent known as the cradle of civilization. This movie displays quite a bit of that warmth and beauty even though quite a bit of the movie was shot in Atlanta. If you have never put a trip to Africa on your bucket list, now would be a good time to do that. The best places in the world are not necessary the highly visited places.
Future Movie Potential
Given that Wakanda has the largest deposit of the rare metal vibranium (another natural resource found in Africa) and its central role in Captain America's shield and variety of other weapons AND the advance technology that Wakandian people possess, I suspect there will be plenty of opportunity for future films to be based on this vivid and rich back story. The tech that Shuri (T'Challa's sister) develops is nothing short of stunning and from the Infinity War trailer, it would appear that Captain America is going to be the beneficiary of another piece of Wakanda tech. The characters of Wakanda are worthy of future stories by thems. Who wouldn't want to see Danai Gurira's Okoye in an adventure or Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi break out those shielded rhinos and go after someone else? The future looks good for additional Wokanda storylines if the writers want to take it on.
Overall I highly recommend that you take time out of your schedule to see this film. Once over this opening weekend hump, you should be able to go to a showing of the film with being overwhelmed by the crowds. Hollywood needs to understand that black actors can do more than be pimps, drug dealers or neighborhood low lifes. Films like Black Panther and Hidden Figures can show black characters in a positive and intelligent light.
Some might be wondering, "Why vacation in Hawaii?" Some of you may or may not know that one of the best experiences in my life was when I was on temporary assignment for EDS working at Fort Shafter and living in Waikiki for a year in 1999-2000 and then actually moved there from 2001 to 2004. Hawaii is one of those magical places that is so beautiful that it takes your breath away. The beauty comes in so many shapes and sizes that everyday when I resided there I saw the creative hand of God in nature.
Jowancia and I had the privilege of attending a Christian leadership conference in Honolulu in 2012 and she feel in love with the islands as well. We both are amazed that it has taken five years to make the journey back to "the gathering place" (the meaning of the word O'ahu). We thought, "Rather than go by ourselves, why not invite the family to come along?" And the invitation was extended on both sides of our family. We choose the holiday season because it is such a festive place during Christmas and New Year's.
I decided to start writing this blog to share information about the islands and the things one can do while there and to share some of the experiences I have had in the islands so that maybe you can experience them as well. During my residency from 2001-2004, I was the pastor of the First Chinese Church of Christ in downtown Honolulu. Check out this promotional video that I wrote and directed for local community television:
It is my hope that this will be a vacation of a lifetime. I will post additional entries in this place in the weeks to come. Questions?? Drop them in the comments or shoot me an email.
Printed Sunday School Text – Exodus 31:12-18
Exodus 31:12-18New International Version (NIV)
12 Then the Lord said to Moses, 13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. 15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. 16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”
18 When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.