Watch us walk, watch us move, watch us overcome, listen to our voices, the sway. The resilience. The innovation. The raw, unfiltered and untouched soul we have can not be touched.
—Solange Knowles on why she’s proud to be Black
To be young, gifted and unapologetically Black means finding creative ways to honor the ancestors, rep the culture, and celebrate the cinnamon skin you’re in. An example would be that, for the better part of a decade, this lifelong comic book nerd has cheekily identified himself as Wakandan Indigenous and Eternian.
What’s interesting is that, to date, my claim as a Master of the Universe has yet to be questioned...nor should it ever be 😉
My Indigenous ancestry is periodically challenged by the same contingent of the mediocre mayonnaise masses who still believe Elizabeth Warren (aka Fauxcahontas) is totes 1/64 Cherokee princess on her cousin’s side twice removed….from reality. However far too often the second I claim I’m Wakandan, smug pedantic bigots practically trip over themselves to klansplain that “Wakanda isn’t real.”
It should be noted that it’s often the same clowns who speak fluent Klingon, rep the House of Lannister, all while waiting for an owl to deliver them a letter of acceptance from a British boarding school for witchcraft and wizardry. Not all gatekeepers of white nationalism are of the Caucasian persuasion. Conscious fauxteps (brimming with internalized antiblackness) will justify the use of the n-word, the most disgusting word in the English language (no matter how you spell it), but will throw an epic hissy fit when Blacks genuinely and lovingly refer to each other as Kings, Queens, or gender non-binary monarchs. *Also curious is how of all of the holidays celebrated in December, Kwanzaa is the only one that is regularly mocked and denigrated by nonblacks. Peeped a pattern yet?
“It always strikes me as odd that during a season where people either celebrate an old Nordic man and his unpaid elven workers or that one time when God left a teenage virgin girl to awkwardly explain to her older husband that his kid wasn't HIS kid, the one holiday folks feel the need to stress is ‘made up’ is the one where Black people tell one another ‘If we stick together, we gon' be alright.’ Funny how that works...”
Simply put. There are levels to this.
Black people loving themselves and referring each other as royalty is elitist and should be mocked and shamed, but using the n-word and other dehumanizing slurs is acceptable? This is why, contrary to popular belief, it is indeed paramount to place a lid on a barrel full of crabs.
Kings, queens, monarchs are more than kingdoms, authority, wealth, titles, or privilege. It's a mindset. It's embracing your power, knowing your worth, and constantly evolving and striving to be the best version of yourself, not only for you but to inspire others and leave the planet better than you entered it. It's using wisdom and discernment before taking action. It's being a leader and leading by example, regardless of rank. It's making the welfare of the people you're responsible for your top priority. It's possessing the strength to make the tough decisions and, if need be, fight for a righteous cause that is bigger than yourself.
It's the diplomacy you utilize to deescalate conflict. It's the poise, grace, humility and class you naturally project, even when you don’t think you’re being observed by others. Sidenote: this is how nobility could often be clocked when they were in disguise and trying to keep a low profile.
It’s also called context. Context is key. And we all know this.
But because it involves Black positivity, others will insist on acting brand new and making with the microaggressions, the dog whistle politics and the gaslighting.
The same ones crying “Wakanda isn’t real” are usually the same ones who will yell “I AM GROOT”—knowing they aren’t a Guardian of the Galaxy and they certainly don’t possess a tree, a branch, a twig or any other form of wood of note. Contrary to what their fraudulent ads on Grindr would have us believe!
These are the same idiots who proclaim to be bosses but are too lazy to show up for work, much less put in work. They call themselves leaders but are too weak to stand on their own and follow every trend and every crowd like a leaf in the wind. These are the same knaves who falsely self-identify as winners when the only awards they receive on their best day are of the participation variety.
To paraphrase a sentiment King Odin shared in Thor: Ragnarok, Wakanda is more than a place, it’s an idea. It’s a belief. It’s the best and brightest ambassadors of the African Diaspora. It’s the magic of all things Black Excellence. Wakanda actually predates Black Panther, Marvel and even Disney. It has manifested in a myriad of forms throughout history.
Wakanda is Warrior Queen Amina and the Zazzua Kingdom. It’s Hannibal and the Carthaginians. It’s Cleopatra and her reign as Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, immortalizing her as one of the most iconic figures in all of history. And by the by, to quote a great prophet by the name of Paul Mooney, “Jesus is Black. So was Cleopatra. Know your history.” Know what else is Wakanda? New Orleans, Houston, Harlem and her renaissance, and Atlanta. Wakanda is Rhythm Nation 1814, Shondaland, Wondaland, and Afrofuturism.
Some of Wakanda’s proud citizens include the likes of Bass Reeves, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Marie Laveau, the Original X-Man First Class Brother Malcolm, Monica Roberts, King Lebron James, The Purple Clad Purifier of Lake Minnetonka, Solange and her amazing family, Nicholas Almand, Chadwick Boseman, Langston Hughes, Ororo Munroe, yours truly, among others.
Oh Wakanda is real. It’s very real. Any claims to the contrary, eff what you heard because the Devil is a liar. Wakanda is right here, right now.