Remembering ‘BLACK PANTHER’

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It was three years ago this week that I saw Black Panther on Opening Night. I saw it with my second husband, and sat in the push AMC seat with him and was transported to Wakanda for the very first time. There was magic seeing Chadwick Boseman on screen as T’Challa–I had never seen a Black superhero on screen before! I had seen Blade of course, and Wesley Snipes owned all pieces of that role! But this, this was different. It had an ancestral feel, and during the middle of the movie, I almost cried. At the end of the movie after hearing young Black men discussing fan Marvel Comics fan theory? I threw my arms around them! It was glorious. Simply glorious.

One of the last things we did as a family was take my daughters to see this movie. The complete delight on their faces as they watched, I cannot quite describe. It indeed was a cultural moment worthy of all hype and celebration!

Then, Chadwick Boseman died.

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Long live the [our] King.

This is after telling my daughter after she was so distraught after watching The Avengers: Infinity War, “No one dies in the Marvel Universe.” I told her that to dry her tears, only to have her collapse in my bed almost three years later, knowing that the actor who brought him to life is dead. How do you reconcile that?

As a mother, I need what to say to make her okay. As an artist, I am still grieving. When this reminder came through my memories, I was taken back to Opening Night. I remember getting ready to music, thinking about my outfit, and even what earrings to wear. I wanted to be pretty and pretty effing hot. What strikes me now are the hidden conversations: recasting, the sequels, plans going forward. In the comics, Princess Shuri takes the mantle of Black Panther. There was even talk of Black Panther (T’Challa) should not be recast. And I won’t lie to you, I was on that same bandwagon! I wanted the role to stay sacrosanct! Don’t cast anyone else as T’Challa! Then, I ventured into one of my Blerd groups. Those hidden converasations ceased to be whispers, and I realized how silly (and selfish) I was being:

“But, there have been how many actors who have been Batman? Superman? How many have been Spider-Man?”

The Extraordinary Journey of a Black Nerd Group

When I sat and thought about it, and thought about it as a writer? The creator of that post and those commenting on it were right. The best way we honor Chadwick is to make sure the character doesn’t die with him. Chadwick is immortal and integral to the MCU, and with still so much left to do–but he left us so much.

The little girl in me is grieving, but the writer in me is elated. I want to see what more can come from these characters! I want to see what Ryan Coogler or even Nia DaCosta come up with as possible directors for these new movies! I want to see what the writers, storyboard artists, CGI teams come up with. I want to see what happens next. As the old hymn goes, “I feel like going on.” I want to see what happens next–I must see what happens next. My hope is the staff and all teams involved will honor the source material, current standards and push past all doubt and give us he sequel we all need! I for one, cannot wait.

[image from imdb.com and mediavillage.com]

Life Is Complete! ‘Blossom’ Is On Hulu!

Blossom (TV series) - Wikipedia

I am at the age where I can remember Clarissa Explains It All and Blossom! These kids don’t know how essential both of these shows were to a girl growing up in the 1990’s. Clarissa Darling helped me with my snark and individuality, while Blossom Russo reminded me that even if life around me was crazy, I would make it too! Plus, that is when Joey Laurence was SO FINE! But I’m getting ahead myself.

It was through Monday nights at 8pm on NBC from age 9 until 14, I was a fan of Blossom Russo—and thus Mayim Bialik. Yes, Dr. Sheldon Coopers girlfriend is ‘Blossom’! I loved this show, and even had the ‘Blossom hat’! There was something genuine about her, her best friend Six (it was the 1990’s! I don’t make the rules of naming these fictional people!)–and I so desired to be that cool! But, I loved Blossom because she was pretty and awkward and confident! And her family was just as off the wall as I thought mine was! But with that said, I began to be a fan of Mayim, followed everything she did after! So, when she earned her doctorate in Nanoscience?

HERE FOR IT!

I am even looking forward to her new show on Fox in January! Like?! I love with artists find a way to balance what they love and what they are drawn to do! I’m a working writer, and artist by nature–and still have a day job in healthcare. So, seeing Mayim do all this? It’s lit!

And as far as Joey Laurence wanting a Blossom reunion–the show is 25 years old now!–I’m on the fence about that. I’m not sure, honestly! I mean it is the same way I feel about the revamping of Punky Brewster. There’s a nostalgia to these shows! I mean I was invested! With that investment, I want either the revamp to be done right, or just put it on keep it on Hulu. Besides, I still dance to that theme music. You have to be raised in the 90’s to really understand how lit theme music is. But the kids aren’t ready for that conversation yet.

Am I Going To My High School Reunion? (Bleep) NO.

I am the Class of 1999. Yes, the Prince song! It’s lit, carry on. But I have no desire to go to any reunion. None. I haven’t the slightest desire to be around people that I legit could barely stand 20 years ago for a night or a weekend Facebook event.

The hubs is all geeked to go to his reunion. I get it; he was born in a small town in Texas. He liked his school. He even has friends that still live there! As for me, I have no such affinity.

None.

Before you think I’m a bigger wench than I probably am, let me explain something. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. This city is clique-based, especially around education. Namely, high school.

My school was Jennings Senior High. And I hated everyday I was there. I was bored out of my mind. I was suffering from depression. I only wanted to write! On top of the fact, my father would be dead before Christmas of 1998.

My fondest wish was to graduate, putting as much land and water between me and St. Louis as possible. I had wanted to go to New York University. I wanted to study English, and become a professor. My dreams were bigger than the halls of Jennings Senior High. Why would I want to go and remember the four most trying, depressing years of my life? Why?

Hint:  I wouldn’t.

There are only a handful of people that I want to see, and thanks to Facebook? I can find them–if I want to! But the thing is, I don’t.

JHS

This is not a dig at those whose high school years were happy. I’m glad they were! I’m happy for you! But realize there are those of us that don’t want to remember a place that stifled us, made fun of us, or kept us bored for four years! High school was not the ‘best years’ of my life. I am famous for saying, “The people that say ‘these are the best years of my life’ have nothing else to do or look forward to.”

I meant that.

I am grateful for the teachers that spoke to my talent as a writer:  Mr. Henry Barrere, Mr. Stephen Batchelor. I adore Mr. Batchelor (my Big Bro Matt)–but that is a story for another day.

Reunions are great and all, but my best life came after I left. The beginning of the awesome part of my life came when I left a place the represented everything stifling. Everything hard. Representative of everything I wanted to forget. I looked at high school, and St. Louis as what Tennessee Williams called a ‘necessary adversary’. Being quiet in high school made me observant of human behavior. It got me good a people-watching, accents, and detailing being in love–unrequited.

With the vantage point of 20 years, I can tell that awkward girl that dreamt of marrying Derek Jeter, to keep dreaming. I can tell her more than half the people in these classrooms you won’t see again.

Ever.

These girls that made fun of you, dudes that wouldn’t talk to you or date you, will not matter once you turn this tassel. Treat unnecessary people as a wind chime:  they make noise for a while and they stop. I would remind her not to get bogged down in people’s

 

I can tell her that you make, will make, your life great. And your success is not contingent on what other people believe, think or say. It is not defined by whether or not you got to be Prom Queen, Homecoming Queen, or lost your virginity after either event.

This twenty year reunion only marks time; it marks my age, and my slow, careful strut towards 40. St. Louis is home, I am an alum of Jennings Senior High, class of 1999. I also don’t give a damn if I ever darken those halls again.