My friends and I had the chance to view Black Panther – right here on the continent, with all the glory and splendor that came with seeing a BIG budget film, about Africans with superpowers, fighting the “bad” guys (more on that another time), at an African movie theater. We jokingly discussed how if you were Toubab – you couldn’t sit with us in the theatre, as we needed to feel, breathe, smell and hear our people reacting to every second of the movie. I already knew that I was going to be headed out wearing all black, with a hint of African wax print. I somehow convinced my friends that they should accompany me in this fashion leap by wearing black berets like the Black Panther of the 60s and 70s – after all it didn’t matter to us which came first – the movie or the all black, justice fighting militant group that helped the black community unite – a common theme kinda between the two Black Panthers. Little did we know that our stepping out for a night of excitement and sheer joy at seeing this movie on the big screen would come with a photo featured in The Root and Blavity – (two premier websites in the United States dedicated to everything black culture – that’s me in the far left with the African print bomber jacket designed by @Diarrablu and black beret).
The goal for that night was to step out in all that I loved about being Senegalese. With the music of Baaba Mal, Tam Tam drums and the composers dedication to exploring the music and culture of Senegal and ensuring that it was incorporated in the movie in an authentic way – well, I nearly cried that night.
I, of course, along with a friend took some time to practice our Sabar techniques and our Wakanda greetings – because we were most definitely going to be greeting each other like T’Challa and Shuri from now on. It was impossible to sit still as we listened to the drums vibrating off the walls of the theatre, bouncing into our hearts, down our legs and into our feet – but we tried to contain ourselves just a bit, if not for the sake of the 300+ other movie goers.
Senegal is not what it was 2, 5, 10 years ago; Senegal is not what it was even last week. It is ever changing, evolving and yet in still doing its damn hardest to maintain its uniqueness. We don’t have to do it for the culture, because as Africans, we ARE the culture…