Black Panther NewsFeaturedOpEd

The Portrayal of Killmonger

Killmonger, Noteps, and more are tackled in this op-ed piece.

“I am loyal to the throne. No matter who sits on it.”- Okoye

There are two more instances I would  like to bring up to further my point. The first is the final battle scene when T’Challa reveals he is still alive. Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje, states that since T’Challa did not yield or die, Killmonger must honor the challenge. Okoye has been loyal to him out of respect for Wakandan law and her own value of serving her country and king, and she even chooses not to revolt because of these values. So, when Killmonger tells her he doesn’t care about Wakandan law, not only is he dismissing this woman, but he is also dismissing the same laws he used to get in power because it doesn’t benefit him anymore.  This causes an immediate divide between women warriors of Wakanda, the Dora Milaje, and male warriors, the Border Tribe of Wakanda. Erik Killmonger is attacked by two women warriors of the Dora Milaje, lead by Okoye. Throughout the battle, the women don’t fight to kill Killmonger but instead try to force him to yield by taking Killmonger’s Black Panther necklace off. However, he gets the upper hand and kills one of the woman warriors. Time after time he is violent towards women, even when they show support towards him, showing how he doesn’t care about he values of Wakanda or women.

Photo credit Marvel Entertainment/ Marvel Studios.

“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.”Killmonger

  • Killmonger doesn’t want to be accountable because of his pride

In the final scene, Killmonger says, “bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage,” as he is dying. T’Challa offers to save him, but Killmonger refuses, because he will be held accountable for all the people he hurt within his community under his rule and rise to power. He hides behind the idea that being held accountable is too much like slavery, but committing a crime against your community and being captured are not the same. Killmonger’s pride and toxic behaviors do not allow him to see that.

Erik Killmonger wanted his idea of liberation at the cost of hurting his own people in the process. He justified this by convincing himself that he was doing the work for black liberation and shouldn’t be questioned. Time and time again, he justifies his acts of violence, even when he is hurting his own people by convincing himself that putting himself in a better position would help everyone. Even when given that power, he still hurt more black people in the community he wanted to uplift. There are no limits to the people he will hurt in order to obtain what he wants. There’s always more he wants, he only knows how to obtain it by hurting others, and he always justifies hurting people that oppose his ideas of liberation as people choosing to defy the will of black liberation.

Noteps are Killmonger, because they are hurt individuals that we all identify with. We all have in some way experienced that same type of pain. Just like them, we want to empower ourselves to overcome oppression and to help others like us.  Killmonger, just like many Noteps, uses fear to will that liberation while disregarding anyone that is not identified as having a strong black identity or is opposed to their idea of black liberation, even when it’s as minor as having a different approach to achieve black liberation. Noteps tend to only want to listen to others that reaffirm their position and dismiss anything that challenges it. This is why the shamans and other women of the community were killed by Killmonger.  He learned the colonizers tools: to only show hatred and an oppressive nature towards things that were Black but weren’t his idea of Blackness.  As he stated, “I took the life of my own brothers and sisters right here on this continent, and all this death, just so I could kill you!” That “you” is Black people he doesn’t identify with, Black people that challenge him or the oppressor. Killmonger is well intended and understandably hurt, but just like most Noteps, he uses tactics and has a hatred that hurts the people he tries to uplift.

Now that we understand why Noteps are like Killmonger, I want to take some time to address the Noteps’ attack on the Black Panther movie. Noteps have always been a part of black culture. They look for ways to diminish Black joy, because it doesn’t provide the fear they need to esteem their platform. This is because if Blacks achieve a better day, or don’t stay naïve to the fact that you can be happy and know there’s still a lot to strive for, it makes their position lose the attention they want. In the case of the Black Panther movie, they are both ignorant to Black sci-fi and are being fear mongers. This movie doesn’t fit their idea of Black identity and isn’t mutually beneficial for them, so they try to create fear of it so they can look highly esteemed for knowing. However, they are showing more of their own faults and insecurities while hiding behind toxic behaviors.

The sad part about these Noteps criticizing Black Panther is that it really hurts those that do understand Black sci-fi and who have informed opinions, because we have been advocating for Black representation in sci-fi and fantasy for the longest time. So, even if we are in agreement and presenting alternatives in Black sci-fi we think are better than Black Panther, we are getting ignored because of the ignorance that people have already internalized.

Lastly, they don’t want you to realize that someone can be happy and celebrate while taking strides towards their betterment. Their stance on anything that presents Black joy is like your friend seeing you get a raise but then saying you are not the boss. You get a promotion to being the boss, then they say that you don’t own the company. You become part of the board and own a good stake of the company, then they say that you don’t own enough. They only allow you to celebrate when you give them the benefit of the position you are in.

They continue to hold these positions that promote your suffering and show their lack understanding, and ignorance to your well being, when really they are hurt that they are not being uplifted or holding such significant parts of that joy. They can’t be happy for Black joy unless it is them being celebrated directly, so they want you to fear it. You can be happy and continue to work towards bigger and better goals that allow for the betterment of yourself and others.

If you enjoyed Black Panther, cool, and if you didn’t, cool. There are other great black sci-fi creations out there for you, no matter what your reason is.  Either way, let’s keep supporting Black sci-if so that we continue to have increasingly more ownership and representation. Watch and read other Black sci-fi work as well. Hit me up if you need recommendations.

LindoYes is a spoken word artist from Philadelphia, PA. Lindo uses the world as a canvas and paint images with words. His poetry is strongly influence by the comic books he reads and other fantasy and sci-fi he enjoy.

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