As we close out what we call Black History Month, a time set aside to celebrate the achievement of African-Americans in this country, "Black Panther" was positive and gave my children an image of greatness and honor. It did not depict a drug dealer, a pimp or a criminal. It was positive and powerful.
First, the movie painted the true image of Mother Africa. I visited Johannesburg several years ago, and I was excited to see a wonderful metropolis. I cried the entire trip. My children can feel good about Mother Africa.
Secondly, the major character is a king. He is the leader of a nation, and he wants to govern with compassion and care. Many movies depict leaders who are rude, harmful, and overbearing. The best leaders are ones who care about the common good. The Rev. Martin Luther King called it “the beloved community.”
Thirdly, the women in the movie are strong and self-reliant — a good image for my daughter, and daughters who see the movie. They are beautiful outside and inside. Their beauty is only surpassed by the rolling waterfalls in the movie. They are strong yet gentle, intellect with compassion, futuristic and connected to their ancestors.
As I watched the movie, I felt proud of the narrative and celebrated the characters, who did not shoot, run or carry a ball. They were proud descendants of Nelson Mandela, Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman. We all should celebrate "The Black Panther."
Herman O. Kelly Jr.
pastor, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church