Entertainment & Culture
10 Valid Criticisms of ‘Black Panther’

Editors note: The following article contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie Black Panther, what the hell are you waiting for?

After seeing the movie Black Panther, I, like most people, immediately called my real estate agent, cashed in my 401k, invested my life savings in Vibranium stock and put a downpayment on a nice home in Wakanda.

Even though I thought the movie was great, there are people who have voiced valid criticisms of the movie, and I am one of them. My points of contention, however, do not arise form Ryan Coogler’s decisions to stray from the comic book storyline. I don’t even read comic books. I’m a grown-ass man, dawg. I don’t read books with pictures. I discovered a device for when I want to be entertained with a story and pics. I call it a television. you may have heard of it.

Anyway, I thought I’d chronicle my problems with the movie here because… why not?

1. T’Challa made a grave mistake bringing white people to Wakanda.

I’m not saying they should have let Everett die, but man… that was Klaue ‘nem who did that, not the people of Wakanda. You know what’s going to happen, right? By next year there will be a Starbucks and a Panera on the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and T’Chaka Ave. You know once they hear about the good jobs in the Vibranium mines, Wypipo will be over there upping the price of real estate, trying to do Karate at the challenge ceremony, shrugging offbeat during all the rituals. Far be it from me to question T’Challa’s wisdom, but he doesn’t have a deep background in Caucasian studies like me.

2. They Birth of a Nation-ed Killmonger

One of the obvious flaws in Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation regardless of how you feel about Nate Parker, is that they used the bodies of women, specifically rape, as a method to villify the white slave owners. Whenever they wanted to show how evil any of the white men were, they just showed the white male character raping a woman. Gabrielle Union’s character and Nat Turner’s wife in the movie served no purpose to the plot other than to be raped. Black Panther lowkey did the same with the woman who kept the heart-shaped flower and Erik Killmonger’s girlfriend. They were simply plot devices to demonstrate that Killmonger was the bad guy.

But was he?

Killmonger as a character was kinda right. I don’t want to get too deep into analyzing the movie, but we forget that Wakandans weren’t simply protecting thier country from white men. They were protecting their country from anyone who wasn’t from Wakanda. They didn’t see the interconnectedness of Africans, nor did they have to deal with the trauma of dealing with black people. I can’t imagine knowing that a utopia exists that can eliminate the suffering of your people, but instead of choosing to share it, they choose to keep it for themselves.

Isn’t that kinda white-ish?

I’m not saying. I’m just saying.

Plus, we can’t disregard the fact that Erik apparently suffered through a horrible battle with chicken pox. I’m pretty sure that’s where the bumps on his chest came from, right?

Or are the mosquitos in Wakanda that bad?

3. Yes, the Jabari Tribe were Que-Dawgs.

Lets end the debate here. Look, we all know that no Alpha has willingly entered a fight since 1906. Aside from being represented by apes, the only thing M’Baku had in common with A Phi A was that they lived in a place that was ice cold.

  • The Jabari chapter of Omega Psi Phi barked everywhere they went.
  • They didn’t wear shirts
  • They loved “going to the grass.”
  • They were fiercely loyal
  • They were kicked off campus
  • They always arrived late
  • They fought alongside the Deltas (Dora Milaje) at the end
  • They put T’Challa in a big keg cooler in the middle of the frat house
  • They were mad at the rest of the Wakandan tribes for not keeping it “old school.”
  • They never attended any of the NPHC meetings

And let’s be honest, if you had to fight a trained war veteran who just killed the Black Panther, are you calling the Alphas or the Ques?

I’m not saying … (Ok, this time I really am just saying.)

4. Perhaps I’m being too picky, but did the Black Panther juice have to be purple drank?

Oh, so I’m the only one who noticed that the Kool Aid they made from the heart-shaped flower looked like Nu-Grape? Or Robitussin? Or Purplesaurus Rex Kool-Aid? Oh, it’s just me?


But just so we’re clear, we all agree that the potion that stripped away Black Panther’s powers was Wylers, right?

Just making sure.

5. Speaking of the heart-shaped flower…

Perhaps it was just me, but I am still concerned about the next heart-shaped flower crop. If Killmonger burned it all, what are they going to do for the next time? Do they have some heart-shaped flower preserves? Is there a heart-shaped flower store at the Wakanda Galleria? Real Negus need answers to the important questions. Plus, why didn’t the lady who Killmonger choked just eat some heart-shaped flowers and kick his ass? That’s what my grandma would have done if a nigga walked through her garden bed.

Also, yall know that the heart-shaped flower was a metaphor for weed, right?

6. Angela Bassett lives in Wakanda for real

She’s almost 60, y’all, which leads me to believe Angela Bassett has a house near that waterfall where they do the challenge ceremony, or she knows where to get some heart-shaped flower supplements. You wanna hear something crazy? Angela Bassett is 12 years older than Melania Trump! And Woody Harrelson. And Rosie O’Donnell! And she doesn’t look good for her age. She is fine. In fact, I would wager that Angel Bassett has been in the “damn she fine” category longer than anyone who has ever lived.

Plus, Angela Bassett has been Tina Truner, Betty Shabazz and the mother of the Black Panther, but has never played a maid.

Who’s the real superhero?

7. Is “colonizer” the new “Wypipo?”

It has been properly moved and seconded that we replace all derogatory terms for Caucasians with “colonizer” including

  • Off-beat Americans
  • The seasonless
  • The Sunburt
  • Greyworms
  • Tomi Lahrens
  • mass shooters
  • and, of course, Trumps

All in favor, let it be known by saying “aye.”

Motion passed.

8. No one thought about the kids.

You know some Tide-pod eating white child is going to be found overdosed on blue highlighter after  trying to give himself an inner lip tattoo to sneak into Wakanda. Plus, what about the little black boys? I’m pretty sure the costume stores will run out of Black Panther costumes at Halloween and then some kid’s mother is going to buy him a purple houserobe and tell him he can be Zuri.

No one wants to be Zuri.

Not to mention all the young girls who want to be Shuri, which is ok, because that means they will get into a STEM program and have a career in engineering. But in the meantime, you know they’re going to be fucking up their parents’ laptops trying to install hologram software and collecting rocks in an attempt to discover Vibranium. Two weeks from now some poor father will be at the hospital because his daughter stabbed her friend in the eye  playing with Dora Milaje spears made out of a mop handle with a steak knife duct taped to the tip.

Someone has to think of the kids.

9. Even in Wakanda there are fuckboys.

W’Kabi was literally going to run over his wife with a fortified Rhinoceros, and she forgave him, proving once again that black women are always handling shit. That’s how niggas do. You know some of Okoye’s Dora Milaje line sisters were telling her “giiirl, you can do better!” But she still stuck by him. How much does a rhino trainer make anyway? Probably not as much as Okeye makes in her good government job in the Secret Service. I bet she gets good benefits too. He’s probably on her Wakandacare insurance plan and doesn’t have to pay a copay when he gets sick and needs Kimoyo beads.

Okoye probably doesn’t even know that he used to date that white girl name Rose Armitage before they hooked up.

Ya’ll should tell her.

10. There was a white savior in the movie. 

And it wasn’t the CIA Hobbit. Nah, it was actually…


Look, I loved the movie, but I’m still wrestling with the movie equating the liberation of all black people around the world with T’Challa’s ultimate answer which was doing some community service work in rec centers. Isn’t that the whitewashed version of revolutionary? Isn’t that like thinking you can stop police brutality, mass incarceration and systematic racism by having a voter registration drive? I’m not saying the effort is usless, and I get that they couldn’t make a movie that justified a world-wide war on whites, but again…

Unlimited wealth. 

I mean, damn, son. At least Oprah built a school.  That’s probably why Nakia kept curving him.

I think I saw her last week at the Que party with M’Baku.

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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