In 2018, I was wrapping up a project with Howard University alumni. It was my first time working with a group from the HBU and I was impressed. In was also the same summer that Black Panther hit theaters. Full disclosure, I was the “president” of Haverford’s comic book club my senior year, which I’ll admit was the best gig ever. So it’s not unusual for me to make it to the opening weekend for most comic book movies (even the bad ones). Still,
The Black Panther premier was special.
Waiting in line, I remember watching little kids dancing in anticipation, literally jumping for joy at the prospect of seeing someone that looked like them on the screen. It was adorable and heartening.
Later that summer I watched Chadwick’s Boseman’s commencement address at his alma mater. Telling his story of moving from pet to threat, shook me. Not since reading DuBois’s Coming of John my sophomore year of college, had I felt such resonance.
When he said, “Forget their stories. I can tell my own stories.” I could feel his frustration and anger – even after all those years. The risk the hope the pain the shame.
But he did it. He told the stories of his people, of our people, so so beautifully.
An Icon playing Icons
History may be written by the victors, but it is rewritten by survivors. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year from writing a book… writing is rewriting, and re-writing, and re-writing, and…
It’s all a draft.
We won’t stop until we get it right.
Sending love to everyone mourning.
Long Live the King.