The Black Panther Movie

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I was asked by more than twenty people to give my take on the Black Panther movie that was released in theaters in the United States on February 16, 2018. I agreed.

It must be understood that those who were curious about my view on the movie, some did not like it and some did. I don’t want to be anyone’s moral gage or compass.

I can only provide my critique based on …

  • My life’s experience as an African American man.
  • Having lived in Africa and experiencing its many rich cultures.
  • An admitted prejudice and love for my people.
  • My understanding of World History which has largely excluded African history.
  • My understanding of the book called by men, the Bible.

The Short View

I watched the movie and was entertained. I would not discourage anyone from going to see it.

This might sound odd, but when I watched the movie, I could not help but initially think about The Cosby Show, Good Times, and The Jeffersons. Why, because they were false portrayals of life in America for Black people.

The Cosby Show Doctor dad and Lawyer mom was not and still is not a typical and true depiction of African American life.

The Jeffersons were not typical either of African American life. A Black dry cleaners business owner, yes, there are those – but not typical – but one with a maid? I don’t think so.

Good Times. Come on now, Black people living in the ghetto and happy? Those were “good times?”

The Longer View

There is a danger with this movie if it viewed beyond entertainment value. Why?

First of all, Hollywood and the whole of the Entertainment Industry is a business and they are not interested in the self-empowerment of any people, especially Black and Brown people. The bottom line is money.

From an African American perspective (I personally prefer Black.The blood that runs through my veins cries out to me that “You are African” or whatever the name of the land of my ancestors was called before the European named it Africa), we already have superheroes. Many of whom are dead and many are alive. Do we need a fictional comic book character to inspire us? Do we need Hollywood to be that vehicle to push him upon us as the European pushed a religion that was not ours upon us?

The list of African superheroes (this includes men and women of African descent within all countries of the world), is endless. They are scholars, teachers, historians, mathematicians, philosophers, civil rights activists, critical thinkers, etc who have laid down the foundation in which generations of Black youths can build a knowledge base and continue on with their legacy … their own history. They deserve that honor, not a fictional comic book character.

The continent of Africa has 54 countries. Yet, it is being treated as if all of Africa is the same. This is not true. Africa is very diverse in culture and people. 

For example, one will find vast differences in language, culture, skin tone, and religion between those in North Africa, South Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and West Africa.

The movie, The Black Panther, presented the same prejudiced untrue view of Africa.

I lived and worked in West Africa for three years. An America colleague said to me, “Watch out for the lions and hyenas.”  There are no lions and hyenas in West Africa.

What Is All of the Fighting About?

There are some very heated debates on social media about this movie.

Many African Americans love the movie because it is one of those “we own this” things and because it is largely all Black actors and actresses. That is one thing I am pleased about, a movie with almost … and I say almost … all Black actors in it. Many Whites might not understand this. Let be briefly explain.

As an African American child growing up in a Eurocentric school system, I did not see people who looked like me in history books. And, even in movies, I saw largely Tarzan or Black actors cast in denigrating roles for the entertainment of White people. As I got older, I saw the Blaxploitation era where the best we could do was movies like The Mack, Superfly, Shaft, and Foxy Brown which cast Black people in a negative light. Then later, the entertainment industry cast Black men in movies as criminals, thugs, drug users, and pushers. It cast our Black women as prostitutes. Then up to more recent times, Black actors are cast in less positive roles where drugs and criminality are featured.

Then we see all of the movies featuring White people  (mostly the White male) as godlike saviors of the world; namely, Superman Batman, and even Wonder Woman. This message is clear, subliminal, and dangerous.

So, when a superhero movie like Black Panther comes out, many Black people cling to it because it is about us, not White people, even though the movie is fictional. A movie that does not cast us in a negative way, but largely in a dignified manner, though fictitious. A movie many of us would rather our children watch than a movie about killing, drugs, thugs, and prostitutes.

For some, the movie presents a false portrayal of Africa – which is true – and feel that it is harmful to Black people because it is a false portrayal and wonder why Africa not be portrayed as it truthfully is. Then you have those who see no harm it. Some think it sheds light on Black women who have have been all but shut out of any significant accomplishments on the historical world stage. This true also. So, to them, the movie presents strong Black women. No one needs to convince me that Black women are NOT strong. They had to be because Black men in America were not provided with the same opportunities as their White counterparts to provide for their families. This was a part of the White American agenda to divide and dismantle the Black family. It worked! It is still working to this very day.

The View of the Messiah

Jesus said at Matthew 12:25 …

Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

This is a very profound thing he said because it starts with the division of kingdoms, then down to cities, and then the family unit.

I know, having lived in Africa, and keeping a careful watch of the events going on within it, that it is being silently invaded and divided by outsiders who are not from that land. 

Africa is the richest continent in deposits of natural resources, but the poorest continent in the world. This makes no sense. The only logical conclusion is that Africa is kept this way by design.

Imagine the African continent unified and an economic power like China! What would that do for African descends dispersed all over the world!

Do not be fooled, those who have their hands in keep Africa divided and her people poor and wanting know this.

When this division Jesus spoke occurs at city-level, he is not using cities in the context of “New York, Boston, or London, but in the context of communities.

If one lives in a community – for example, the African American community – and there is division, we cannot stand. All that we set out to accomplish – no matter how well intentioned – will fail.

We must be smart enough who look at the source of those who cause the division. It did not begin with us.

The movie “The Black Panther” is beguiling to us (Black people) if we think this is real and truthful. It is bewitching many of us.

It is safe as long as we view it as entertainment and even as a launchpad for an encouragement to research and study “African History.” (Not African American History). African American History, in my view,  is a trick. It keeps us in a box. There is only one history for us, African History, our experience in America should be a subset of it.

The African American city is divided.

At the basic level, the African American family (the household) is divided. As I mentioned earlier, that division did not come at our own hand. The division came by the very same hands that divided Africa and the African American City. Divide the family, the city will be divided. Divide the city, the African Kingdom will be divided and none of it can stand.

Jesus Knew Something About Division. Are We Listening To Him?

The Most High God Said with reference to the one He sent into the world of mankind, this command found at Luke 9:35 …

A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.

Listen to him.

If one reads the life and experiences of Jesus – from what we can extract from the scrolls we have – he was treated in a similar manner to Black people in the world. I believe he was a Black man and unlike the Eurocentric depictions, we see in art, film, and literature.

He was sought after by lynch mobs. He was lynched! He was executed in a most horrible way.

A large portion of his child, adolescent, and adult life is missing. Yet, we are told that The Most High God would call His Son “Out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:15)

What was a Carpenters son doing in Egypt? Getting an education. That the Egyptian people were Black, this one called Jesus by the world today would have blended in. He would not have been known by that name in Egypt.

When he returned to his hometown (city) where he grew up and people knew him, they were astounded when he began teaching in the Synagogue (at Capernaum) on the Sabbath. His absence while being educated in Egypt accounts for this knowledge the people were astounded at. Mark 6:1-3 describes this …

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a]Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus was a unifier. He identified those the dividers of households, cities, and kingdoms (or nations of people). Back in his day, they were the Scribes and Pharisees and the powerful spirit being who influenced and fueled them, Satan the Devil.

The Modern-Day Scribes

Today, there are modern-day Scribes (script-writers) hard at work creating seemingly innocent productions in film, art, and literature within a very impressionable and so-called liberated country (The United States of America) that serves one purpose, to cause division and contention at every level.

Discussions turn into who has the best hip-hop album, best movie, best actress, best actor, etc and nothing on a spiritual level. The people are being beguiled, debased, consumed with the pettiness, and to care for that which can be seen and not what cannot be seen. One does not have to look far to see that this is the situation we are in. Look at what is important to us. A movie!

What To Do?

Take a step back and see the big picture. (No pun intended)

It is all a part of a great deception and Black and Brown people (and many who are not) are being sucked into a vacuum (bag) that will not get emptied.

Outside the bag, there is the noise of the vacuum (noise and chatter of the world. A world in which Jesus said his world was no part of).

Inside the bag are filth, dirt, dust, and darkness. No light gets in. A darkness one has become accustomed to. The swirl of dust and dirt bump up against one another and around one another; a mass of confusion.

Look at this world for what it is. It is a massive sphere of lies. It can be no other way because it none of its kingdoms are of God. As Jesus said at John 18:36 …

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.

Much of what we see today and placed in front of us are distractions. Clever ones at that. Distractions that redirect us away from coming to discover and know the truth.

That truth is NOT what the European gave our ancestors as far as a religion. They have been deceptive and liars. It is false.

That truth is NOT African people anywhere in the world reclaiming what was taken from us. God will give us a new name (identity).

That truth is NOT what so-called “Hebrew Israelites” speak of. They come across so angry, contentious, loud, and unspiritual and worldly. They are false.

That truth is NOT in Islam. Yet, one has to admire what the Nation of Islam has done for the Black Community. It does speak truthful things. It is too political and the fight and warfare are not against a nation or nations, but a much insidious enemy. The Nation of Islam is about the maintenance of a world that God and through His Prophets say WILL BE destroyed. (Daniel 2:44)

That truth is NOT within any religious organization or system on this earth. Not one.

One of Jesus Apostles, the Apostle Paul (it has not confirmed that Paul wrote Hebrews) when addressing the Hebrew Congregation said at Hebrews 13:13-14 …

Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

I find this particular passage extremely interesting because what Paul says to this congregation. He says that they (we … and Paul included himself) ” … do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city THAT IS TO COME.”

This is in line with what Jesus said about his kingdom is not of this world.

Nothing stands in place at present.

Followers of God’s Son (who leads to The Most High God), are few. Very few. They are not within any the religious organizations of the world. The hold no loyalty to any of them.

They know that they exist outside of a city (community) and are in the wilderness of this world. The very same wilderness Jesus found himself alone in with the exception of another, his Tempter.

That is where Christ’s true followers are. It is a spiritual – but real –  place. It is that place, that wilderness where those who cling tightly to what the Master taught will be tempted by the ruler of this world. Satan himself.

Satan has been able to successfully tempt and mislead billions with the nonsensical things of this world. Among the many things is this movie, The Black Panther. It is a lure and a distraction.

When it is glaringly clear that this world is about to go down into destruction, no one going to care about these petty things.

Like back in Noah’s day, the people were so distracted that they took no note of what was about to happen until it was too late.

Jesus says at Matthew 24:37-39 …

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Please be careful everyone and be aware of what the ruler of this world is doing. He is distracting us to be more concerned about the things that will divide us than unite us. To be concerned about the petty. To be blind to what is coming upon this world. No fictional superhero will be able to stop it. You will be frightened at the sight of it because you were not aware of its coming. You were distracted.

The best advice I can give is to obey The Most High God and listen to His Son. (Luke 9:35)

The Most High did not say join a church, some religious organization, “getting saved” or listen to persons who think they have some special calling and who arrogate themselves to speak to you as if Christ told them to do that. No!

You must approach the Father in prayer (privately) and ask for illumination. Ask for His wisdom, His understanding, and His knowledge through the office and only authorized channel to Him, His Son. Those things will be given to you through that only authorized channel, His Son. There is no other authorized way to ask and receive.

It will come to you when you least expect it. It will not come to you through the pages of a book. (Anyone can read and quote a book). No, this is an experience that cannot be described by any human. It is a quiet and spiritual experience. No raving on like a person possessed of a demon or speaking in gibberish. It is the most calming and peaceful experience imaginable.

You will know whatever it is God through His Son apportions to you until that time comes when there will be a full outpouring upon you. No one today has received a full outpouring yet. It will be your gift from God through his channel.

Yes, people will think that you are crazy. They thought this of Christ as well. They thought he had a demon.

Your worst enemies will be persons of religion; especially those claiming to know Christ. They will be like Pharisees to you. To trick and trap you.

Be careful what you ask of The Most High. You might not like it. But it will be the truth.

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R. Jerome Harris

A Disciple of Christ in the strictest sense. I belong to no religious organization. I view Christ as my only Head, Master, Teacher, Owner, and Lord. (John 8:31-32, 1Cor 11:3) His God is my God and I champion his teachings above anything issuing out of ANY religious organization.

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