Black Panther: A Black Girl's Song.

Author:Deroze, Phyllisa Smith
Position:Essay
 
FREE EXCERPT

When I watched Black Panther in Abu Dhabi during its opening weekend, I went not knowing what to expect and I left with a renewed spirit.

Black Panther answered Ntozake Shange's cry, "somebody, anybody, sing a black girl's song."

Black Panther sang a precious melody that I needed to hear, even after all these years.

Black Panther reached back in time, played my song on an 8-track tape, and healed the many times when my hymn became "Half notes scattered" and it rearranged the melody for me.

Like the day when I was told I wouldn't receive one of the new Tonka Trucks that my brother and male cousins unwrapped on Christmas Day. I had the dolls.

The chord of disappointment from those days still remain.

They remain just like memories of the days I spent climbing trees, turning back flips, break-dancing on cardboard boxes, and playing WWF characters.

Those were my joyous days, until they needed to dissolve into the past because I was told that girls my age don't climb trees, that I couldn't be Andre the Giant because I was girl, that I couldn't back flip and break dance in a skirt, and being a girl, I needed to start wearing skirts.

I resisted.

For my resistance, I was called "Tom Boy" rather than "warrior woman."

Black Panther teleported me back to those days like a 70's slow jam, wiped my tears, gave me a space ship and a spear and told me that a Tonka Truck was beneath me, anyway.

Black Panther whispered that it understood that I only wanted to build my strength just like my cousins and that all warriors needed strength.

In the Wakandan rhythms, I trained as Dora Milaje. I was finally able to be a super hero and a girl.

In the vibrations of the land of vibranium, my anatomy doesn't lessen my power, it highlights its strength.

Black Panther gave me visuals and visions of bald, brown, bold, dark-skinned, beautiful, women that made men and animals bow at their feet.

Okoye's solo was my heart string because she was the superhero that I always saw in my dreams. She was the one I tried to be in the 80s but was muted.

I wanted to be a black woman so powerful that when she fought, no one knew automatically, who would win. I wanted an advanced and complexed harmony that was unlike the options I had available during my childhood: Super Girl, Wonder Woman, or Bionic Woman.

Black Panther reminded me of the time I attended a study group...

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