Why The Women Of This Black Panther Flick Rule The World....
Reason #1 - Melanin
Reason #2 - Melanin
Reason #3 - And Mo’ Melanin
I heard a lot of buzz around the women of the upcoming Black Panther film. I put it in the back of my mind to check out the trailer - fah later. I have yet to see the trailer for the film, but DARLINGS when I came upon the many pictures (including the one above) of the women in the film, I felt about three more ounces of melanin stream into my already well-melanated existence. It’s like the folks at Marvel went and had a spiritual retreat smack dab in the middle of Black Girl Magic Land. Although I have not viewed the trailer, it is already guaranteed that my behind will be seated in front of a big screen on opening day.
Back in the day, when a film even featured a Black woman, she was draped in Jane Fonda-esque locks and painted with nude lips and bleaching cream. Afros and low haircuts were often reserved for Blaxpoitation films and struggle series. Notice how , in Good Times, Florida Evans rocked a straight TWA and Thelma rocked her own Afro versions or braids. Then when there were shows depicting more ‘dignified’ Negroes, there was a commission of wigs, perms and hot combs - i.e., Louise Jefferson, the matriarch of the show, The Jeffersons. So when I come across a poster for the Black Panther film and saw Marvel had baldheads, TWAs and 4C for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it gave me LIFE! I was like Jesus when he was rising up on that third day. These ain’t your every day submissive sidekick, bandana wearing Black characters. This is imagery of power and beauty. I am sitting here about to snatch out my Marley Twists and shave my head bald. Who got a gold collar for my neck today?
When I was younger, you were only considered cute if you had ‘good’ hair or your hair was straightened. You were either subjected to a heated rake through your tresses or perm slathered in your head, leaving you checking in the mirror to see if the chemicals had burned through to the white meat. My family still carries that belief now. I remember the rage I felt when I arrived home to my aunt working perm through the head of my 3-year old daughter. I conformed for a few years, but then my daughter saw my natural hair and wanted to follow suit. She is 19-years old and I love her head full of soft, thick curls which she has worn with pride for the last 10 years. Glory in her black girl magic:
Right after my junior year of high school, i tried the short hair with the texturizer - you know, the style E-V-E had everybody thinking they would look good with. After failed attempts at the barber shop continued to leave the top of my head looking like an electrocuted monkey, I got up the courage during my first semester of college to shave ALL that shit off of my head. I got so many compliments and felt so free. It was the late 90′s and this ‘natural hair movement’ (like when is the simple act of combing your damn head without the assistance of a blazing chemical or hot rake considered a movement…but I digress) was not embraced as much. People would tell me I had the head for it, I looked exotic and so on. I have went between shaved head to TWA to short twists to microbraids to box braids to Senegalese twists to flat twists to cornrows to fades to Kid ‘N Play box cuts to comb twists to Marley braids. But through all of that, there is nothing like getting up out of a barber’s chair with nothing but the wind against your scalp. There is nothing like the look on your daughter’s face when she sees you have went and ‘did it again’. I love my baldheaded ass self!
I am not an advocate of shaming anyone for however they choose to wear their hair, but I am glad that more women are embracing their natural state. I am glad that many women are choosing to be more courageous and versatile with self-expression through their crown. I am glad that Black is Beautiful is slowly, but surely, becoming normalized in mainstream society. Black mothers should go see this with their daughters and allow them to see what a REAL super hero looks like.