Why You Need To See Black Panther In A Black Theater

By George Kevin Jordan

By now you probably have gone to Wakanda and seen The Black Panther movie. There is so much to say about the movie, as a film, as a piece of art, as an idea. I would like to talk about something. The panther in the room so to speak. I would like to challenge you to see the film again – but this time at a black theater.

I can just see the meme’s of babies rolling their eyes now. Cats filing their nails as they shake their head. Beyonce snaking her coiffed helmet as she sings “no, no, no, no, no.”

Hear me out.

My portal to Wakanda was right in Harlem USA at the Magic Johnson theater. To say this is a black theater is an understatement. Not only are the majority of patrons black, but the cultural esthetic is also black. You can tell by the way the brothers nod when they greet you. You can tell by the wonderfulness of sista do’s that bless the usher’s heads. Do we have a tendency to be extra. Hell yes. That is what you need when seeing this film.

Last year I saw Get Out at a predominantly black theater in D.C. Seated next to us what the African Noir Siskel and Ebert. They provided commentary between the dialogue and provide hilarious context during the movie. At one point when certain plot points were revealed, the sisters shouted, “uh, huh that is what you get going for all those Kim Kardashian’s.” It was social commentary that fit the moment and added to my experience. I must admit my partner fumed at the loud and lagerious language. To him it was disturbing his movie experience. To me it was art influencing art. I reckon it to early hip hop artists taking beats from songs and making them their own.

While at Wakanda AKA 125th street, I watched as several people got upset over seating and the collective crowd culled the anger by saying we were bigger than this moment. Things that could set off a fight in some context were pivot points for unity during the Black Panther premiere.

And might I add there are jokes that you need your people to understand. During the film when actor Martin Freeman who plays Everett K. Ross, one of the few white character in the movie, came up upon Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, she turned around and said “don’t sneak up on me colonizer.” The audience was in hysterics. Later when I discussed that moment with my brother he mentioned that only he and a sister in a front row laughed at his screening which was predominantly white in Los Angeles.

Another moment of solidarity happens when Freeman decides to join in a discussion in which he has no right, context or understanding of the environment, the characters in the film make grunting noises until he is silenced. It is a collective pay back for being silenced for years, for having to have one person be deemed as having the authority in every and all situations. This moment warranted a standing ovation at the theater where I saw the film. When other friends and family member saw the same scene, they were privy to silence or a spackle of claps.

Black folks have been relegated to a narrative that limits our participation in the movie process. We are seen as loud, disobedient and not adhering to rules. But in reality like most things we have our own way of consuming this medium and it includes, collective sighs, jokes, laughter, snaps. When done in moderation it can enhance the collective experience.

I plan to go see Black Panther again, but I still will probably go to a black theater. The experience is magical and mystical as seeing a people on screen unafraid of who they are and unapologetic for how that comes across.

Wakanda and black theaters forever.

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Luis Fonsi: The Global Man

Words by Dascha Polanco
Photography by Jan Friere
Fashion by Darius Baptist
Grooming by Judith Prince
Hair By Sheldon Barker

Big Song, big artist, big heart: Luis Fonsi gives a candid interview on music and life before he became a household name. 

Despacito had already hit the top of the Billboard US Latin charts, and then Justin Bieber’s remix to Luis Fonsi’s hit catapulted the song to the top of the Billboard US Hot 100 chart for an astonishing 16 weeks (1.3 Billion streams), it became the most viewed video in history, further making it The Song of 2017. Many listeners hadn’t heard of the Puerto Rican singer prior to this hit, but Luis Fonsi has been creating Spanish love songs for over two decades, and has released nine albums. Actress and Humanitarian Dascha Polanco recently caught up with the legendary performer to discuss his newfound success, his take on being considered a new artist, and her bid to get into one of his music videos.

Dascha: First off, I must let you know I’m honored to interview you. I’ve been a fan since the beginning. Your music has touched and inspired me in so many ways. Palabras del Silencio is one of my favorite albums still to this day.  I know you’re very busy, and we don’t have much time, so I will just jump in and start asking questions.  When I first heard Despacito, my initial response was it needed to be heard in all markets across the board. Was that your intention when recording the song?

Luis: I knew the song had potential to be a crossover hit, but that wasn’t my intention. When I wrote Despactio, my intention was to write a song for my new album. When I start working on my album I usually take time off from touring and promoting, and I just go into writing mode. As the song unfolded, I knew it needed another element to it, something to give it the explosion that my voice can’t do. I have more of a romantic, pop voice, and the song needed another voice to cut through, so that’s where
Daddy Yankee came in. I called him and said I really need you to do what you do.

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