"Black Panther" is a superhero movie unlike any other, largely because the superhero is one of the most notable black super heroes that has gained such mass appeal. Think about it. How many superheroes are you familiar with? Superman? Batman? Spiderman? Iron Man? Captain America? Daredevil? Thor? Most people have heard of these superheroes and enjoyed at least some of their movies.
A New Reality For Young, Black Children
What does it say about American culture that all of the above-mentioned superheroes have been white? What message does it send about capability, strength, talent, intelligence, and technology—all the traits of a superhero? And where exactly does that leave African Americans, especially young African Americans who are going through a formative stage and in need role models?
"Black Panther," Self-Esteem and Mental Health
"Black Panther" changes this scenario, helping African Americans to see themselves as having all the traits needed to be a superhero. It is a great boost to mental well-being to see representations of others that look like they do in all aspects of life. African Americans who see this movie are likely to leave with an enhanced sense of self-esteem about who they are and where they come from. And self-esteem is the bedrock of mental health because once you learn to love yourself, you can also have good relationships with everyone around you and become a happy and contributing member of society.
Wakanda—An Alternative Universe
"Black Panther" is set in a country called Wakanda which has the best technology in the world. The people of Wakanda are also proud of their African heritage. In a world where inner city kids are still struggling to stay away from gangs, drugs and other types of crime, Wakanda provides them with an alternative universe that they can aspire to build—a world where black people can live together in harmony and abundance. Just acknowledging the possibility of this fictitious country can give African Americans hope, another necessary component for strong mental and emotional well-being.
Wakanda—A Nation of Abundance
The idea of abundance runs all through "Black Panther" because Wakanda, the imaginary land from where "Black Panther" comes, is rich in natural resources as well as technology. Seeing this fictitious country brought to life can further help African Americans to embrace the possibilities that they could have everything that they want. This kind of positive approach can do wonders for one's mindset.
To learn more about mental and emotional well-being, visit the Mental Health section of our blog.
Image provided courtesy of Saruny L / Shutterstock
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