Black Panther Reflections from the @GullahGeechee Nation
The drums sounded somewhere up the dirt road around Anderson, SC.
However, this beat was distinct because it was one known to Wakanda and the Gullah/Geechee.
It was often only heard on the shorelines where we watch the sun touch the sea
And it can only be heard by Mother Africa’s children truly seeking to be free.
I can recall wrapping up on one set where freedom was out theme-Underground-to get the notification that folks should adorn themselves in African attire and come out for the casting call for the long awaited “Black Panther.” I had to catch a plane to go stand for the Black Panthers that I had grown up with on my home island of St. Helena where that animal is our mascot instead. The United Nations was once again calling my name and I had to take my stand there. However, my heart was now not only with my people on the Sea Islands, but in a land that previously had only been in the pages of a comic book-Wakanda.
Tonight I was able to take the journey to Wakanda through the power and energy brought to the screen by numerous actors of African descent that have done outstanding and powerful portrayals of our people throughout their careers. The leading man was the one who sounded the drum for all of us from Carolina for sure-Chadwick Boseman. His range of work from James Brown to Marshall to Black Panther has truly done us proud. The drum beat that I and others must have heard coming from him has to be his heart beating out loud.
This film is filled with heart, emotion, and depth. It is not a comic strip come to life. It is art imitating African life with all of its joy and strife.
In the midst of each and every scene I sat seeing the parallels between Wakanda and the Gullah/Geechee Nation from the power in the eyes of the people to the direct senses of humor to the herbal healing to the sunset over the waterway. I also saw and felt the pain and hollowness of the others that come in seeking to exploit, destroy and/or put down what we have because they have never experienced it. I saw the massive complexities being fought out by the children of the African Diaspora not only in the range of the ways our people were dressed for this occasion and how we greeted or didn’t greet one another in the theater to the lines stated on the big screen that rang out loud and clear about what we have that can truly save the world if we only knew that we have it.
This journey into a land that Marvel had the technology to depict gave me an even greater appreciation and dedication to standing up on and for the shoreline of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and holdin pun we culcha fa allawe. I am truly thankful to have been able to take this journey into Wakanda you see.
#WakandaForever #GullahGeecheeForever and may the Black Panthers of the world continue to prowl and fight together!