Mari Copeny, third from left, watches the film "Black Panther" with more than 150 children, after she raised $16,000 to provide free tickets to an entire theatre. Picture: Jake May /The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP
Johannesburg - I have never been a big follower of superhero movies, whether the heroes are black, white, mixed-race or blue. The euphoria of the 2018 American superhero film, Black Panther, was short-lived for me.

The consensus from the “woke” people is this: “Finally, a black child will have a black superhero to look up to. One that makes Spider-Man and Captain America look redundant.”

The timing of the release of this movie is very suspicious. Everybody knows black Americans are tired of being seen as lesser human beings than their counterparts.

From the lack of recognition of their excellence at awards that are seemingly sought after by those who need validation from the Grammys and Oscars, to more serious issues such as the abuse of black women - think of the #MeToo campaign and the brutality and killing of black men in America.

Perhaps this movie was a needed move by those who own the American media and produced it, Walt Disney and Marvel Studios.

Now, let us bring it home.

Also read: We’ve been duped. Black Panther is anti-revolution

About 30 minutes into the movie, I felt angry and offended by the noise we have made around this movie.

On a daily basis, as South Africans, we consume soapies and telenovas on Mzansi Magic and SABC Channels that portray black people as thuggery masters and criminals of note.

The poorest of the poor will not watch this movie any time soon. They will still remain in mental bondage to the Supermen and Captain Americas of these world.

Not only that, they are daily victims of easy-to-access storylines that reiterate and reinforce the idea that black people always have to do criminal activities and unlawful things to make a living.

Week in, week out, Uzalo, Isibaya, Generations, The Queen, Scandal, Rhythm City and many other soapies trend on social media with storylines that have to do with money laundering, drugs, murders and bribery.

The stories are patriarchal, even. It is still the same patriarchal, unhealthy masculinity we are trying to fight that is promoted daily.

We are caught up in the short-lived euphoria of a movie, while the mentality of the coming generation and previous generations are negatively affected.

If the beautifully put movie, Black Panther, was revolutionary, we would all be starting campaigns to ensure our local production stop writing stories lines that only say: black man, your success can’t be lawful and honest and, black woman, you will only be a follower and when you lead, illegality is your way to “success” too.

Read more: #BlackPanther: More than just a pretty picture

The movie gives hope.

Imagine Africa being the leading continent and having a country that has world-class technology.

Blank Panther is really not just a movie, it is a moment. To have a superhero who is honourable, strong and wise is something we hardly see being portrayed by a black person.

Nevertheless, a movie is not enough to tell a positive story of black people. It has to be the day-to-day television programmes we consume that should start having a positive impact on the portrayal of black people.

What Walt Disney Studios and the whole of Hollywood does to change or reintroduce how it depicts black people is of less importance to me if we cannot have South African broadcasters advocate for the reconstruction of black images on our television screens.

Let us demand that we see honourable, faithful and a lot of characters on our screens of integrity.

May the spirit of Wakanda take over SA script writers. Otherwise, Black Panther is an illusion we need to get over faster that we can all say, Wakanda.

* Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement (YMM). Email, [email protected]; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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