• 75°

Movie renews interest in Africa

Wikipedia, a multilingual, web-based, free encyclopedia, and the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, reports that the 2018 “Black Panther” movie, with a budget of a little over 200 million dollars, as of May, 2018 had grossed 1.3 billion dollars worldwide. This very popular, and financially successful movie, had an unintended impact in the African-American community — a renewed interest in African culture. The movie is about a young man who returns to his African homeland, the nation of Wakanda, after the death of his father, to take his place as king.

The young king ultimately releases the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

The movie, replete with images of actors in African attire (some genuine and others an exaggeration) resulted in internet sites immediately taking advantage of the popularity of the movie by selling clothing and artifacts online. It is now common in the USA to observe African-American celebrities wearing African garb in the media, many even infusing the cultural themes in elaborate wedding and ceremonies. The last time this enthusiastic interest in African culture took place in the black community was during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. This was also during the period of time that a number of African countries were securing their independence from colonial rule, which caused African-Americans to feel proud of their ancestral home.

It was during this period, however, that The New York Times, however, reported in a series of articles that the more than four-century-old isolation from Africa had resulted in a schism that was impossible to bridge.

The paper actually concluded from interviews with select Africans living in several independent countries, that American blacks were not welcome on the continent. A respected black educator and leader, the late Dr. Horace Mann Bond, took exception to the articles and decided to visit the same countries and talk, when possible, with the same Africans who had been interviewed by the New York Times reporters.

Dr. Bond discovered that the same Africans, interviewed by the Times, did embrace and acknowledge the kindred spirit, which exists among people of color. Bond’s advocacy actually helped to infuse life into the term “African diaspora.”

This spirit of an “African diaspora” ultimately took on an even more powerful political direction.  The term came to mean a special relationship between blacks who live on the continent of Africa and those who live in other parts of the world that cannot be destroyed by continental divide and separation.

Hopefully, this new revival will be permanent.