qotw: all the stars

I would be playing myself if I didn’t reference the movie, Black Panther. As much as I would like to talk about this epic cinematic experience, I don’t want to spoil it for those who have not seen it yet. So I am going to rely on “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar featuring SZA (it’s a little controversial) from the soundtrack to convey a few layers I would like to peel back.

“Love, let’s talk about love
Is it anything and everything you hoped for?
Or do the feeling haunt you?
I know the feeling haunt you

Love can be a passion that haunts you. For the characters in Black Panther love plays out very differently when it comes to Wakanda. Whether it’s Nakia’s stubbornness; T’Challa being traditionally overprotective; N’Jadaka’s misguided anger; or Okoye’s loyalty, their love was complicated, but present. It also guided their actions and defined their character.

It’s the kind of love that keeps you up at night and all you think about is how to obtain, keep, or make better. Like an amazing 16 year old STEM genius said, “Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.” So your night turns to day and you get up groggy from the haunting, but you know you have to keep going. Then that haunting love finds a way to remind you of why you are doing what you doing and your heart instantaneously smiles—don’t freeze.

[Chorus: SZA]
This may be the night that my dreams might let me know
All the stars approach you, all the stars approach you, all the stars approach you
This may be the night that my dreams might let me know
All the stars are closer, all the stars are closer, all the stars are closer

For the last two years, many of us have been waiting for this film. Then it happened!! We saw us on the screen in all our nuances and complexities. Our realities were given voices in different tongues and vivid colors. Black Panther was a dream come true and it let us know all the stars are closer. What stars? The stars linked to possibilities of economic power and representation. We demonstrated how we can positively use our buying power to improve our community (because Jordans are not it—I’m just saying). Black Panther smashed box office records during its first weekend (an estimated $235 million in the US) which will hopefully allow for more movies that will represent the Black experience and not in the stereotypical manner. Moreover, many of us showed up and showed out in attire and accessories by Black merchants. We represented.

Initially, I thought this movie was for my friends and myself, but seeing the excitement of Black children who were gifted tickets to see the show changed that for me. Then seeing the older generations show up for Black Panther, reminded me of the legacy from the 1960s (do your homework) to present day. As a collective, we all connected and became part of movie history.

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