Miles Henderson, Founder of True Culture University
The critical relevance of the Black Panther film has been analyzed in a multitude of ways. From the symbolic representation of Killmonger as a child from the Diaspora and criticism on the anti-revolutionary thought that some believed were showcased. However, the film is still generally praised as being groundbreaking in terms of representation and showcasing of African people in positions of authority.
By far, the visual image, more specifically the visual image of Wakanda and what it represents is the most powerful concept of the film. The vision of an African technologically advanced society creates a vision of what Africans winning looks like. It doesn't look like marches, it doesn't look like protest, it looks like African sovereignty reinforced by technological and military power. Though many are framing Wakanda from an alternate history perspective- a history where African nations were not colonized, I challenge you to view Wakanda from an alternate future perspective. A future where we as Africans both on the Continent and in the Diaspora can build a Pan-African society likened to the one created in the Marvel Universe. Wakanda can be built. Wakanda as a concept has been presented to millions of Africans all over the world, our vision for development has just been aligned. Now that we understand what a vision of winning looks like, we must all strive towards this goal wholeheartedly.
Black Panther was, by all means, a fantasy movie, but all realities started as fantasy, and just perhaps the reality we create - inspired by this Afrofuturistic fantasy, will be revolutionary. The film alluded to the power of Pan-Africanism, and all the complexities that will come with striving towards this endeavor. It directly confronts the idea of combining or leveraging of resources to free Black people globally. The point of friction between the antagonist and protagonist of the film was based on the strategy of utilizing resources to empower all Black people, both on the continent and beyond. Black people are everywhere.
We at True Culture University have been striving toward facilitating the conversation amongst Africans in the Continents and Diaspora. As any Pan-African reality is going to require dialogue and understanding between all groups of Black people both within the Continent and beyond it.
Now, what does Pan-Africanism look like within the context of striving towards our Wakanda?
The lack of industrialization has strategically positioned the Continent. In the current technological era, industrialization based on the traditional models of fossil fuel dependence, rigid infrastructure, and the use of assembly lines have become outdated. Instead, being replaced by renewable forms of energy, automation, and artificial intelligence. While most nations have built substantial infrastructures and trained their populations to be reliant on these outdated structures, Africa has not. This presents the unique opportunity for Africa to begin to leapfrogging or skip over previous forms of technologies to fully incorporate more advanced technologies at a quicker rate and fuller capacity than other nations. Countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, and Liberia are the up and coming HUBS of technological innovation on the Continent. With Kenya planning an entirely new Silicon Valley like city within the coming decade.
Now, at the same time that this evolution is occurring on the continent, African Americans are pushing their own wave of tech-based entrepreneurship through app development, hardware creation, and the leveraging of their proximity to technological leaders of the world. This is seen from the African-American tech giant Blavity who hosts the AfroTech conference every year in Silicon Valley that encourages Black tech entrepreneurship. This trend extends to the likes of Jay-Z who in his recent album stated,
“A nice peace-fund ideas from people who look like we
We gon' start a society within a society
That's major, just like the Negro League
There was a time America wouldn't let us ball
Those times are now back, just now called Afro-tech
Generational wealth, that's the key.”
The last time African Americans and continental interest aligned we created a wave of influence that pushed forward African American progress and freed the Continent from colonial rule. In order for there to be a global Afro-Tech revolution, African populations on both sides of the Atlantic need each other. African Americans with access to capital, technological behemoths, and free open internets have already made massive headway into the technological realm. While African nations boast sovereignty and African controlled cities- a foundation that technology from the Diaspora could be rooted upon. African people need a Pan-African Silicon Valley to act as a technological incubator for the entire Continent and Diaspora alike. A Tech Hub for Black people globally, a place where Black geniuses can be activated, empowered, and encouraged to make their contribution to our global Wakanda. An incubator for African creativity both locally and globally. Afro-Tech. This isn't a local description, is a global one. This is how we build Wakanda, or at least begin to.
Again, the vision of Wakanda is the most powerful component of the film. It creates a collective visualization for Africans globally. Some practitioners of Eastern philosophy argue that all things come from the mind before they are manifested in the physical realm. This theory is being confirmed by new discoveries in the field of quantum physics. By no means am I a quantum scientist, but I do understand the fundamental basis of the field of study. By observing or thinking about reality- one begins to actively change it. Reality is influenceable simply by one’s thoughts. Now imagine how powerful collective visualization is. As an avid believer in the law of attraction, if we, as a people, see it - we will attract it. The stronger the visual is, the stronger the manifestation will be in reality. Black people have no choice but to create our own reality, and the creation of any reality begins in the mind-our collective mind. The immense power of media is that it creates the visualization for you.
Now, with a vision and understanding of what winning looks like we can actually win. So the next time you say "Wakanda Forever", know you are saying we will forever strive to create a Black society as technologically advanced, powerful, and absolute as Wakanda was.