As the Prime Minister of ZANDERLAND, I have my cultural passport with my ‘black card’ in hand and I am prepared to ascend into the Afrofuturist portal of spectacle and escapism know as Wakanda. I am anxiously waiting to embark upon the cultural phenomenon that is Marvel’s, Black Panther. I am ready to be immersed in the universe of Wakanda.
People are revelling in astonishment with regard to the film’s cinematics and the dynamic portrayal of a technologically advanced African nation. Without a doubt, the film’s greatest super strength rests in the power of representation. Beyond sharing awe in the sheer wonderment that is Wakanda, audiences are participating in a moment of communal bonding and celebration of black excellence. As innovative, intelligent, and gifted as we are collective, we are only beginning to witness the power of our genius.
Wakanda is more than a fantasy. Wakanda represents both a history and a future that black people, as the progenitors of civilization, have been in search for. It is a place where our collective excellence is exalted. Preparing to enter Wakanda feels like a homecoming. This film is indeed a cultural phenomenon that has the power to transcend the singular event and transform into a cultural revolution. Yet, the power to transform our society does not reside in one film alone. We must harness our power, as a transformational force, to manifest new realities.
As a filmmaker, I am privileged with creating new worlds and alternate realities but rarely do these things translate into physical manifestations of the world that surrounds me. Because art is said to imitate life, I know the power of imagination is intricately connected to the universal power of creation. So, I choose to produce content that is affirming to the universal humanity of African diasporic people. There are so many underrepresented voices and even more untold stories of heroism, beauty, and resilience. We have a duty to ourselves, to our ancestors, and to our future to honor these stories. My current film project, Ode to Blackness, is centered on my desire to celebrate the history, present, and future of blackness as told by us. We will explore the artistry and spirituality inextricably linked to the black experience and we will do so, together, in a collaborative form of storytelling. I look forward to hearing your testimonies of everyday excellence that often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. I want to celebrate everything that makes black beautiful in a way that is tangible and extends beyond the month of February. The beauty of black culture can only be articulated and experience through a connection to the people who create it.
Here and now, upon return from Wakanda, we must seize the moment to create. Let us take our inspiration and produce new innovation. Let us create more narratives designed to uplift and empower a nation. Let us envision greater possibilities for our lives. Let us pursue our dreams and our passions with vigor and excitement. Let us defy all forces that seek to obstruct, diminish, marginalize, and oppress our evolution. Let us be great.
Calling all cultural ambassadors. The time is now. Wakanda Forever...via the ZANDERLAND Express.