How did Hollywood's greatest investment in Diversity create a Global Phenomenon?
During Black History Month of 2018 we received the incredible gift of the history making film “Black Panther” This unique film just so happens to be the first Superhero/Marvel film to be nominated for an Academy Award. In the famous words of Martin Lawrence " A woo woo woo" what a massive accomplishment. Black Panther is the first film directed by a Black Director with an all black cast to receive the highest budget in film history. The first film by a black director to go on to become one of the highest grossing films in history with a record breaking $1.3 Billion dollars and counting. The first major motion picture film for breakout star Letitia Wright or should we say Princess. The first film to garner a global explosion of all things black and African including viral dancing videos, etc. The first film to break the entertainment industry drought in Saudi Arabia in the last 35 years. The phenomenal cast and director have gone on to win numerous awards to date so no pressure for Oakland native film Director Ryan Coogler as he continues his great work on another epic film in the highly anticipated Black Panther 2.
So what does all this mean for the culture right? Finally young black kids can see characters that look like them, act like them, talk like them. They can be inspired to live and dream like royalty, that they can go places they never thought was possible. Women can see themselves as leaders, decision makers, and most importantly as warriors. Holding onto to these beliefs one can only hope that Hollywood is finally paying closer attention to the unlimited potential of People of Color on and off screen. When given the right opportunities to succeed with just the right amount of Vibranium Energy, we can actually make history, break records, generate massive amounts of revenue for billion dollar corporations as well as small businesses, and create economic growth opportunities. Now that’s what I call buying power, African Americans hold the worldwide record for being the highest consumers of everything but not quite the same as creators. With this new shift in energy the doors are now open for creative talent to spread their wings and fly. The need is great and the time is now for innovative and creative talent to write films and TV shows about black experiences, for talent local and abroad to represent those faces and for directors with colorful vision to actualize their stories.
Now if only we could have this same amount energy transferred over into the Technology/ STEM field then we could sing Kumbiya while we all hold hands with so much joy and enthusiasm, YES! It would be an absolute dream and delight to see Marvel Studios/Disney invest some of those billions of bucks back into the community to create thousands of Technology Scholarships, hundreds of employment opportunities for Black Artists, Graphic UX Designers, Writers, Directors and more to create more black comic books as well as create the “Wakanda Technology Centers” around the world to teach us all how to harvest the energy of Vibranium that will equip us with the power to break open the talent doors wide, smash down the walls of bias division and break up the glass ceilings. There are so many fantastic and incredible opportunities that can be created much like the success of Black Panther, we simply need the right companies to make greater investments in more diverse and inclusive talent. #WakandaForever