Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: A hollow “defining moment” cloaked in identity politics

NICK BARRIMAN—News coverage in the lead-up to the film’s release, a key component of its multi-million-dollar marketing campaign, gave the impression that a viewing of the film would be enough to inspire impoverished black children to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, has joined in the general establishment promotion of the work, sending out tweets encouraging his followers to see the film. This carefully orchestrated and well-funded marketing scam is driving millions to see Black Panther, providing mega-profits for its distributor, Walt Disney Studios.


Two views on box-office boffo superhit BLACK PANTHER

CHRIS LEBRON—Black Panther presents itself as the most radical black experience of the year. We are meant to feel emboldened by the images of T’Challa, a black man clad in a powerful combat suit tearing up the bad guys that threaten good people. But the lessons I learned were these: the bad guy is the black American who has rightly identified white supremacy as the reigning threat to black well-being; the bad guy is the one who thinks Wakanda is being selfish in its secret liberation; the bad guy is the one who will no longer stand for patience and moderation—he thinks liberation is many, many decades overdue. And the black hero snuffs him out.


The Black Political Class and Network Neutrality

BRUCE DIXON—Rush’s COPE Act would have done away with that, nullifying all county and municipal cable licensing, franchise and regulation agreements, and replacing them with a federal licensing body inaccessible to citizens but easy for the cable companies to influence and control. That heinous legislation passed the House of Representatives with the support of two thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus. Fortunately it died in the US Senate.