Two years after Black Panther euphoria, has anything changed in the relationship between Africans and African-Americans?
Marvel’s blockbuster movie, Black Panther, was more than a motion picture to Africans and African-Americans. For some in the movie industry, the motion picture that grossed $1.23 billion worldwide smashed the long-standing belief in Hollywood that a movie with a predominantly black cast and black director would not garner international attention and patronage. To others outside the industry, its storyline articulated a positive image of Africa and a vision of great things that could happen if black people across the world worked together to harness the talents they possess. “You might say that this African nation is fantasy,” says Chadwick Boseman who played T’Challa in the movie. “But to have the opportunity to pull from real ideas, real places and real African concepts, and put it inside of this idea of Wakanda — that’s a great opportunity to develop a sense of what that identity is, especially when you’re disconnected from it.”
Black Panther came out at a point where Nollywood and Afrobeat have made great in-road in bringing the flavor of mainland Africa to the African Diaspora. Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid and others are not just seen as international artistes who sell out stadiums and headline global music festivals like Coachella, they are more and more collaborating with African-American artistes to the benefit of each side. Politically, the Black Panther movie came out when more African countries were rolling out welcome mat to African-Americans who wished to relocate to these African countries to share their skills and talents with a continent of 1.2 billion people. Four years ago, Ghana declared 2019 as a Year of Return for black people all over the world who wished to return and be naturalized citizens of Ghana.
For months after the release of the movie, it seemed as if Africans and African-Americans have discovered their futuristic Holy Grail, just like the people of Wakanda discovered vibranium.
Not lost to any African or African-American theater audience of Black Panther was the coming together in great magnitude of African and African-American actors on a big screen. They were speaking African languages, dressed in uniquely African attires and pursuing a particular African mission. Though their tribes differed, the brotherhood and sisterhood were visible. Though their accents varied, their individual wisdoms were valued. Though conflicts were in…