Article / 28 April 2021

Life Lessons from Black Panther

Rohit C.

Black Panther is one of the greatest black superhero movies to have dazzled the big screen in recent times. People from all races were amazed at the sheer richness of black culture. Many movie watchers from the black community wore traditional African attire to enjoy their moment of truth. 


In the imaginary world of Wakanda, an African nation of the highest order and the most technologically advanced country in the world is brimming with life and joy. It has vast reserves of rare and indestructible metal vibranium and they have technology which is light years ahead of other civilizations. Prince T’Challa makes a comeback to Wakanda to take over the reins after his father and the King are killed in a terrorist attack. He engages in ritual combat with his challenger to become the Black Panther. The King faces a daunting enemy, Killmonger, who sees Wakanda’s advanced technology as a means to expand the Wakandan empire all over the world for black people to rule the world. The Black Panther must rise to the occasion to save Wakanda and the entire world from the dangerous rogue Killmonger. 


Black Panther, apart from its visual brilliance, has, for the first time, MCU’s almost all-black lead cast. It caught the eye of the world for its costuming capturing the rich and diverse culture of Africa. Black Panther is all about the true essence of black life if it had not been enslaved and had the freedom to choose the way it wanted to live. It provides us lessons we can all use in real life.


Women Power

Black Panther showcases the real power of women, an inspiration to women and girls worldwide to the fact that they can do everything that men can do. An all-female army Dora Milaje “adored ones,” led by their female general Okoye that protects the King and Wakanda is the symbol of ultimate female strength. There are several examples in present times where women have broken the barriers to finding their rightful place – Kamala Harris, the first African American Vice President of the USA, is one such example. 

Wakanda not only represents the beauty and intelligence, but also the strength and resilience of women's power, a huge motivation for black women and girls all over the world.

 

Knowledge is power

T’Challa, the Black Panther, is a genius in the field of science. His sharp and curious mind uses science to propel Wakanda into becoming a highly advanced nation. He is also a superhero with super strength, agility, and has mastered many forms of martial arts. Black Panther does not rely on his family’s wealth or empire to become king. His skills and abilities make him the best man to lead Wakanda. 


Knowledge is all about awareness and understanding. It gives the power to choose the right direction and make intelligent decisions. The power of knowledge is limitless and can knock out even our strongest enemy, as the advantage lies with the person who has superior intelligence along with physical strength. We must use every opportunity to learn and upgrade ourselves!

 

Listen to your Soul

Superhero stories are all about sci-fi or human endurance. Black Panther is a superhero but there exists a moment of spirituality when he visits his “ancestral plane” to interact with his ancestors as he undergoes the process of becoming a King. Humans have always had deep connections with spirituality. The belief that there is something greater, divine than us that gives us power and courage to choose the righteous path and helps us in our most difficult moments. It brings positive emotions such as inner peace, a feeling of contentment, and gratitude. T’Challa has the fictional heart-shaped herb to experience spiritual vision, but we as humans can also experience the power of spirituality simply by praying and meditation. Our emotional well-being is as important as our physical health. One cannot be healthy without the other!

 

Compassion for your Enemy

The feeling of compassion for a person who has caused deep suffering to us is seldom seen. M’Baku as a challenger could have lost his life during ritual combat but T’Challa spared his life, showing an act of true compassion which made M’Baku realize that T’Challa was indeed a good person and so he became an important ally. People have an increasing tendency to seek revenge, they celebrate seeing someone down, but forget that this only starts a vicious circle of violence which is never ending. Only a brave and daring individual can stop further escalation of violence and offer compassion as a way forward to secure the future. 

T’Challa as Black Panther exhibits what it means to be compassionate and shows how skillful action which is driven by seeing reality from a larger perspective can end violence and bring lasting peace. 

 

The World is One Big Nation

Wakanda became the most advanced country in the world because of the metal vibranium which helped them develop their resources and technology. They refused to share technology, hiding from the world for their benefit. What if they would have worked for the greater cause of black people's liberation or the poor world at large? Our history has several such examples when nations became selfish, ignoring others. 

 

The Nation First ideology has brought far greater suffering to humanity than can be imagined. Nationalism in a broader sense is good for society as it helps its citizens to work for the betterment of their nation. The problems arise when a country decides to safeguard its interests but ignores the fact that its unilateral actions will cause harm to the global community. The US in its previous administration decided to withdraw from global climate change mitigation citing economic reasons and that it was putting the US at a permanent disadvantage, a narrow and selfish thought from the world’s strongest country, ignoring the opinions and studies done by the scientific community that global warming is real and can cause a life-threatening disaster in near future. Though, the recent change in US administration brought forth the majority outlook that the US is deeply concerned about and needs to be part of the global climate pact. Sanity restored!

 

Similarly, the ravaging pandemic has brought mankind to the edge. “As of 22nd April 2021, 40% of the Covid-19 vaccines administered globally have gone to people in 27 wealthy nations that represent 11% of the global population. Countries making up the least-wealthy 11% have gotten just 1.6% of Covid-19 vaccines administered so far, according to an analysis of data collected by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.” The world community is ignoring the simple fact that, “No one is safe until everyone is safe.” I hope that common sense prevails.

 

Wakanda Forever!