In today’s world, social awareness has been a central topic of discussion among African-American millenials. Racial injustice, inequality, and identity have all been subjects at the forefront of the conscious community. The recent debut of the Black Panther movie has inspired a plethora of dialogue about the issues within this community. There are many symbolisms and underlying messages conveyed throughout the film, and this article will most certainly be a spoiler for those who have yet to watch it.
Many conversations have been held about how this fictional film has successfully emulated real issues that we face in the black community. One that I have yet to hear addressed is how many parallels exist between the film and the role of the churches in their community. Now, you could possibly be pondering how this is so. To adequately explain, I would like to focus on three main topics. They are: Killmonger, Wakanda, and Nakia.
Killmonger is a character who lost his father as a child to murder by way of his uncle who was the King of Wakanda at the time. He sets his aim in life on revenge and masks his murderous agenda under the guise of liberation for his oppressed people. To complete this task he learns the ways of who he calls his oppressors by becoming a trained killer for the government. He finally gets to the inclusive Wakanda city and uses his birthright to challenge the current King of Wakanda who is the son of his father’s killer.
He beats him in a ritual battle and takes the crown. He then immediately exercises his authority by way of fear which is a striking comparison to how his so-called oppressors operate. In my opinion, his approach to liberation mirrors that of many of the cults that are emerging today who exalt their race over others in superiority adverse to equality.
In the attempt to use the tactics of his oppressor to liberate, he becomes his oppressor. The city of Wakanda is a secret location in Africa that enjoys peace, prosperity, and technology. However, they do not share their resources with outsiders. Killmonger’s argument stems from fact that the Wakanda has the resources to help others but they don’t. Many who scrutinize the church have the same argument.
Often there is lack of outreach in the community from some churches. I admire Nakia’s approach to helping her people. Opposed to Killmonger’s methods, she chooses to not play the victim card. She is Wakandan and has the ability to enjoy the plush lifestyle but chooses not to in order to do liberation missions in Africa where families are being sold into slavery and war. Instead of turning a blind eye like the Wakandans, she chooses to risk her life to liberate others.
In my opinion she can symbolize the evangelist that opts to go outside of the walls of the churches to go into the wilderness. The Church has the resources needed for spiritual liberation and we must be more vigilant in going outside of the convenient church buildings to help others who don’t belong to the church. In the end of the movie we see King T’Challa share the resources of Wakanda with those in need throughout the world. In conclusion, the churches need more Nakia-minded people to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.