For the past week, the number one word on Black social media is “Wakanda.” That’s it, that’s all. Drops mic. The Marvel Comics movie Black Panther is killing it right now with a $240 million weekend debut domestically and $420 million internationally. The pre-ticket sales has exceeded everyone’s expectations but more importantly the community engagement has been phenomenal.
To say it is a “Black” film is inaccurate. The land of Wakanda is a fictional country in Africa bordering Kenya and Uganda. The character appeared in the Fantastic Four created in 1966 by two White comic book writers and artists Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. So, for comic purists, this film added an extra layer in making sure it reflected key accuracies of the comic book series. Many of us who saw the film did not follow the original series, in fact it took a minute to convince some folks that the character had NOTHING to do with the community activist group from the 1960s.
But, as the anticipation grows, and organizations are reserving and selling out entire screening rooms across the country—you can’t help but to wonder, is this the resurgence of modern revolution? Not since “Hidden Figures” has a film with Black leads had this kind of impact of pride, education and unity that was cross-generational or cross-cultural.
There were comments made about why movie goers chose to wear African print fabrics and rock tribal paint on their faces to attend the film? But, it wasn’t about the wardrobe or the face paint, it was about the symbolism of what this represents. When so many of us are not as blessed as Alex Haley to trace back our ancestry to our native villages—we know the blood of our African ancestors runs through our body. In a time where our sitting U.S. President calls Africa a “sh*thole,” we are encouraged to educate our youth why this statement is far from the truth.
While images in media can influence young minds without genuine parental guidance, it was wonderful to see an all-Black ensemble cast in leading roles capturing the audience.
Mad shout out to ALL of the organizations, churches, community leaders and mentors who sponsored students from small groups to large groups to see this film. If it takes a movie to reflect who we once were to who we still are now today—kings, queens, princesses and princes– then we should celebrate our “wakanda” in each of us.
Off & Running
Candidates have their punch numbers and they are off and running to get the word out to voters. Streets and sanitation will be on standby because most likely there will be a plethora of yard signs, flyers and posters flying in the wind. Early voting kicks off on Feb. 21 at 69 W. Washington Blvd. and Cook County townships on March 5 thru March 19.
On Saturday, Feb. 24 100 Black Men of Chicago and The New Black Leadership Council will host the Illinois Attorney General Candidates Forum at Chicago State University (9501 S. King Drive). Doors open at noon and the discussion will begin at 1 p.m. Moderated by WVON’s Perri Small, the program will take place in the Gwendolyn Brooks Library on the 4th floor. All candidates are confirmed to participate.
Northside’s Oldest Black Church is Moving
When you drive through the Lincoln Park community past the zoo on Clark St., an older church building stands out among the modern high rises. The historic Hermon Baptist Church located at 1754 N. Clark St. is the oldest African American Church on the North Side. In 1887, the church started with 13 members who worked for some of the city’s wealthier families; these members would walk from the Gold Coast to the South Side to worship. At the time, Greater Bethesda and Olivet Baptist Churches were located in the Black Belt (Bronzeville). Needing a place of worship, they landed at a few locations on the North Side before ending up at the Lincoln Park Location. Pastor Keith L. Edwards will have the last service at the church on Sunday March 4th.
Honoring Great Gentle Warriors
The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum will honor several outstanding local women in business, technology, education and labor. Educator Beulah McLloyd, principal, Walter H. Dyett School for the Arts, and Illinois State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford will receive the Gentle Warrior Award along with nationally recognized figures including U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and actor-producer-director Robert Townsend. Jaquie Algee, vice president and director of external relations for SEIU Healthcare and one of the organizers of the Women’s March on Chicago, and Dr. Byron T. Brazier, pastor of Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, is joined by Derrick Brown, director of urban programming for iHeart Radio, as this year’s Change Agent Award recipients. JinJa Birkenbeuel, CEO of Birk Creative and a Google technology coach, will be the inaugural recipient of the Descendants of Distinction Award, created to honor descendants of the Pullman Porters, the group of distinguished railroad workers who formed the first Black labor union in the U.S., chartered under the American Federation of Labor.
“The Pullman porters introduced class, culture and education to the African American community and framed it in a way that made it important to us as a people,” said Dr. Lyn Hughes, museum founder.
The awards gala will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Parkway Ballroom, 4455 S. King Drive. To purchase tickets, visit: https://aprpullmanportermuseum.org/special-events/
Pisces season begins for this week’s birthdays. Happy belated birthday to Chosen Few DJ founder Wayne Williams who celebrated on Feb. 19. Mad love to Red Clay Digital web consultant Kevin McFall; True Star Foundation director Na-Tae Thompson; Blok Bizness DJs Carlos Lee; and awesome DJ on the decks Bobbie Potter on Feb.20.
Hugs to Harvey native, platinum producer and Def Jam Sr. vice president of A&R Tuo Clark along with the woman who birth me and my sister, my mom Cecilia Arnold. She showed me what Black Girl Magic was before it was a hashtag. They celebrate on Feb. 21. Heeeey DJ Shaun “T” Hardison and music producer Earl Powell blowing out candles on Feb. 23. Last but not least, happy born day to former record label manager Brian Harris and super club promoter Duce Powell on Feb. 24.
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