This week is a very special as it’s the last week of the semester. There’s no other book or movie that I would like to end the semester with than Black Panther. This movie is very dear to my heart. It came out when I was in Ireland surrounded by thousands of white people. So of course, me a black African immigrant to America embraced it wholeheartedly. I watched it multiple times. I would go to the movies just to be surrounded by gorgeous African people. I watched it to feel understood and not alone in a place that became increasingly lonely. I understood that true self acceptance and the ability to understand and perceive myself is when I wrestle with my self identity and who I not only can be, but am. This movie gave me a break from all of that. Who wants to fight themselves when T’challa is going to fight Killmonger?
This week I got to re-watch the movie and analyze it in a different way. Here are some questions posed to me and my answers.
- Identify three places in the movie where one could argue that at that precise moment T’Challa becomes a leader. What is the best argument for calling him a leader at this point in the movie? In which of your three moments do you believe T’Challa is truly a leader? What is the process that has brought him to this point of being a leader?
T’challa becomes a leader in society the moment he wins the challenge with Mbaku. He becomes a spiritual leader when he defeats Killmonger. He becomes a true leader when he uses his position as a leader to establish others around him as leaders and equips his people and the people on earth with tools they need to thrive. He goes from someone who is a leader only because of the death of his father (the rightful king) to a king in his own right and the eyes of all his people.
2. What kind of leader is T’Challa compared to the others we have studied in this course?
He is to me more similar to Cyrus the Great and Moana than the other leaders we have read about. There is a scene in the ancestral plane when he has a crisis of leadership and his father reminds him that he was always meant to be a king. He was groomed and educated and mentored. Leadership is his place and where he can excel at.
3. Does Killmonger ever become a leader? If so, when? What is his process of becoming a leader like compared to T’Challa (compare especially his initiation to become king of Wakanda)?
Killmonger never becomes a leader in my eyes. While he does become king for a bit of time, his greatest achievement was death. Through his death, the world was ignited so to speak. His process of leadership was doomed from the start, as he did not have a mentor or full father figure. He was lead by the devil of rage into the pit of despair and vengeance.
4. What other characters in the movie could be considered leaders — and why?
I believe that both Shuri and Nakia always could be considered leaders in their own right. When M’Baku says “ We have watched and listened from the mountains! We have watched with disgust as your technological advancements have been overseen by a child! Who scoffs at tradition” . He highlights the great responsibility and leadership position that Shuri has. She is the behind the scene person running the country who uses Vibranium as its core technology. Without her the black panther suit would be no better than Iron man! By the end of the movie we see her care for others, fight for her people, and establish a way to help others outside of her community. As we see with Nakia who starts the movie already saving women and speaking about changing the lives of millions of people around the world, leadership runs strong in the female side of Wakanda.