REVIEW: ‘Black Panther’ Expands Minds and Cooglerism Era
As I sat in the Fox Theatre at Atlanta’s premiere of Black Panther, I noticed a profound term printed on the back of a young man’s shirt. He sat in the row in front of me about five seats over to my to right. ‘The Cooglerism Era’ were the words that my vintage eyesight could capture from a distance. It was obvious the message was pertaining to director Ryan Coogler, (Creed and Fruitvale Station) and I found it to be thought-provoking.
Following the movie, I realized it is a privilege and an honor to acknowledge that I am living in the era of Cooglerism. That era entails a versatile style of socially conscious films told from an African American perspective, narratives that illustrate the strength, resilience, and also the injustice of being a black person in America. I’d like to call it “a montage of black consciousness.” It is the common feeling we all endure when you see Ryan Coogler’s work on-screen, that feeling you get when you leave the theatre and your mind ponders and reflects on poignant messages and hidden truths embedded within the movie you just saw. The messages convey black pride, black history, black unity and overall, black excellence. Your mind continues to wonder deeper into your consciousness, and you decipher the truth about complexities that people of color in America face. That internal rebuttal you have with yourself about social inequality after viewing Coogler’s art in motion is, indeed, the ‘Cooglerism’ effect. That effect is also what is bestowed on you when you experience his latest film, Black Panther.
Ryan Coogler gives you an unforgettable experience of Wakanda, the fictional setting in which the film takes place, with some of the most captivating images of Black people I’ve ever seen on-screen. Black Panther is full of melanin-rich, spiritually awakened characters in a culturally unique land which is a magical esoteric African land that literally all black people will wish existed. The movie centers on King T’Challa’s return home to Wakanda, where he gets tested by powerful enemies who are risking the fate of his country. The young king rallies his Black Panther allies to secure the safety of his people and the entire world.
One word for the cast: impeccable. Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Forrest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright comprise a legendary main cast that will go down in history. They were the perfect blend of melanin magic at its finest! In the words of my fellow millennials, Ruth E. Carter ‘came for your wigs and edges’ on the costume design. Her designs were divine and artistically hypnotizing.
“What a time to be a black child…” is the thought that continues to fester in my psyche. To be a black child and see Black Panther will be a forever life-changing experience. To observe characters with lusious coiled kinky hair, an array of flawless brown skin, full natural lips, accentuated with a royal swagger and supernatural abilities, will instill a psychological foundation of African pride. Like planting a seed in soil, Ryan Coogler will plant imperative messages into the minds of Black children that will nourish and empower their self-image and perspective on the world for life. Through Marvel’s newest movie, they will understand the beauty of Black love, the power of Black unity and brotherhood, the undeniable heroism of Black women, and many more themes that I’d rather not spoil for you. Marvel’s Black Panther is not a movie of the year, for that would be an understatement, not one of the decade either. This is, in fact, a timeless film of the century. “Wakanda Forever!”