tv Democracy Now LINKTV February 28, 2018 3:00pm-3:20pm PST
robyn spencer. this is the teacher right and the star power of the film from the women to the men, across the board, quite amazing. >> it was amazing to sort of see women position is powerful, visionary, intntellectuals in te film in order toto think about jujust the longer sister being e intellectual center and core of wakanda i think was very, very -- a difference we're not oftentimes seen, despite the fact we had films like "hidden figures" that allowed us to see black women's coribubuti, t to have that embodied in a reverence, relatab yng woman watruly aming. y: talk out the her role ofomen. ay, takitme fr there >>he filto pick several women, characters and powerful
roles, so you have one of the main characters played by lupita nyong'o which is really a character who has not received i think the type of attention that i would like to see. i think that character really represents an alternative ideological vision for wakanda. goescharacter is a spy who around the world who challenges the isolationist practices of wakanda by taking the resources, their strength, their military prowess and using that to assist in areas of the world that need that kind of assistance. of course you have shuri, the younger sister of the main ,haracter, and she repreresents agagain, the ideological centerf the film andecause of f her scientific and mathematical knowledge, she is able to really power almost all of the innovation that we see. amy: i want to turn to than a carrera -- danai gurira, who plays okoye, and lupita n'yongo, who plays nakia, discussing
their roles as women warriors in black ntnther. >> women who pledg t theiriveses to thehehrone e d to the secutyty of e kingdom. the character is the geraral t the aed f fors. presenti the old guard and tradition. my chactcterhallenges tradition. >> you get to deci w what nd ofing g y're gngng to . be akia was born to warrior. she s bobornith a a rriors spirit. >> very interesting. a wff inspired by moving as one. they work together to take down somebody. is danai gurira a the
beginning of gond -- lupita nyong'o discussing their roles.. >> truly amazing. they were visuay stunning to just obsve these women with ososely oppeped hair, powerfully challenging and proteteing -- womeas proctors i thk is t somethg that w oftenmes se amy:e'reoing to to brea and me back this discuson. indditioto carvellallace and ron c. spenc, we will be joined by jo hopnsrofessor christher lebr whorites , well, is is notheovie th -- the piecee wrotin "theostoneview" "blk paher is not the fm we desee.e." we wilbebe bacin a momt. ♪ [muc break]
spencer, where joined by christopher lebron. he is a professor at johns hopkins university and author of "the making of black lives matter." his recent article in the "boston review" is titled "black panther is not the fililm we deservrve." what did you like and not like about the film? >> thank you for having me on. what i liked about the film was generally positive aspect of being able to portray black folks on a screen as powerful, as advanced, as in some sense having a way of trying to think about self-determination and trying to bring that base to the screen. what i did not like about the film or two things. one, it seems whenever we have a film that is trying to portray people with dark skin as trying to free themselves, think about liberation, it always seems we're in our own way. here we have the first big blockbuster movie in quite a while featuring a black hero and
the villain, the person he must overcome, despite all talk about imperialism and colonialism, is a black man. n american, a black man. i did not like the kill monger, ed -- billing which often used is he is a product of oakland, product of the asp or a -- diaspora. as broken,lack man defeated, and some sense determined rather than proactive in seeking liberation in terms that we ourselves can recognize as being justifiably legitimate. carvell wallace, receiver lebron's these is generated enormous amount of discussion. >> figure raises outlook points.
one dangerous thing about the film, it does create -- marvel does this generally, but this is a much moree effective execucutn of creating "villain character, who has a point. like you're supposed to walkway going, oh, that guy had a point. he wasn't just a bad guy wanted to destroy the world, he came from something and i made sense. i think the character of killmonger is the most important and intereresting character of e film. i think wakanda is a fantastical place, but also a problematic place in the film that is written ininto the phone's scrit with the idea, wakanda enjoys its freedom, but it's freedom comes at a cost. the kind of inciting act is an act of abandonment. in order for wakanda have this power, it is had to abandon something it had a responsibility to. over the course of the film, wakanda has to come to some understanding about its responsibility.
killmonger is there to force people to think about that. i d't know the eing, as it stan -- first of all, when the chararacr dies in the marvel lm, unle y you psicacallsee th dieie, is optptn is th'' problyly notead.d. as mucheeds killmonger as killmonger needs wakanda. played brilliantly by michael b. jordan. er ia't see killmong product ofakaklandr this, that, orhe otherhing, i see -- the thing t that ople fille a mentn about m is he a cia ent. whever his legitimate beef i he's be utitilid by american imririalis forces as a weapon of dtrtructi. kill m mocker is wrestling wi these competing impulse. one is for freedom, for love, for nnnnecti to o th diaspora, but the otr r thin is wrtling th, cotering tt,s he is
traineas an imrialist. wakaaorceces hito confrt thatust as themperiali. y: chrispher lebn? >> ias a twohings. one, it not asf he is snatchedp by cia he coses andhe mov and emaces h role as mercary. oer some reet kilng blk folksbut it is t as if he d not use t cia foris own end carvell's show killmonger is another thing other than a person is a plan. one thing the movie does not do -- it has lip service to colonialism and police brutality, but when you watch that movie, those things are not in the movie. we can mention those things, but those features don't properly surround me killmonger
character. what you effectively get -- i try to watch this from a perspective as someone who does not do this for a living. i see a black man who is really, really angry, yet he can talk about racism but the imagination is not activated in the proper weight to see killmonger as responding to police brutality, to the abandonment of the american nation by wakanda. speaks of racism and colonialism, but those are not structures in the movie. the only time they mention this is kind of the tussling of cia agents here and calling him colonize her. the hero ofbeing the movie. in this regard, the movie is confused about how it wants to set up the racial politics that give us killmonger. what you get in the end is like richard wright, an enraged black man that people just accept as, well, that is what happens when people are abandoned. that is what happens when people face racism. and there are more hopeful
potentials for black imagination than a person who is so enraged he also kills the only american black woman. the betrayal of american blackness in the movie in some sense plays into all of the worst expectations we have about black pathology that are given to us by conservatives. and often, passively, derided by liberals. but no sense of challenge and the movie does nothing to upset what it means for the black imagination to seek outside of the structures of oppression and marginalization. amy: robyn spencer? >> the great thing being a black feminist ms. -- feminist come you see things that are hidden in plain sight. we talk about exciting characters and visions and intellectual legacies and lineages, about black liberation and how it fits into the larger project, i mean, i would to go back to the women of the film and think about the ways in which if we center the women in the film, we can unpack some of
these contradictions. yes, it is very clear the killmonger character is a cia agent, but yet you have these depictions of an alternative to both the plan up isolating wakanda and expanding it in a way that seems to hearken to empire, right? so instead of that you have the visions of the women who are there. you have nakia who is trying to athe wealth of wakaan positive w - -- its anan undeveveped storyline in some waways. wewe don't see too much. we see her tryg g to make a diffence milarilily,ut wee don'n't have sense of what that ululd lo likike. who's trngnguri crarate differe kind d technological vision forlack maturity. i think what we see thoswomen and we tly centethem as thinke ands intellt's,e cabreak apt sosomef these debas s overll o of this ma .ineage
all of the are theifferent kind of sort of tropes as in usused t analyze the film, b i n osose ar also a lineage of men. so how canan we try to understad the film and d what it mamay ofr the black liberation in a different way? vell?carb >> i agree with that. i think the critiques of the film are valid. i also think the -- the sense that a disney movie is going to be the vanguard of an accurate portrayal of spiritual, emotional revolution -- i don't think that is going to happen. what i wrote about when i wrote about the film in "the new york times," was not about the movie. i wrote it before i saw the movie. i wrote about the moment. this movie happens to be the vanguardrd of the moment currrrently, but not at all the only thing in a moment. there's "a wrinkle in time" coming which is a film that centers women.
i spoke to the director for this beast. what i see happepening, when i wrote what i write about the film, i was not writing about the film but t the factct this moment is happening in afro -futurism. and what that means for us as a people at this point in our experience w was the amy: : lete quote from your piece as you write about afro-futurism. you write -- it is the idea that we will have won the future. >> that is correct. this is an offering into that. this film with all of its good things, it's troubling things, its complex things is an offering into that. my understanding and hope is this is in the only offering into it. this is one. there will be many more to follow.
the way i understand, least intellectual movement to happen, one idea builds on another. an idea is created. some will say, this is the greatest e ever and then lebron comes along and says, can't we do this better? so someone comes along and does a better. that is how we move forward. this film -- i think the film ends as something of an offering to neoliberalism, which i found personally troubling, but i also think in the context of the film -- the crowd i saw it with all felt that way at the end. but i understand it was in the context of marvel universe, the plot reveal happened at the end is necessary for the rest of the film. there will be more films that will use this plot. we can't look to this film as the meaning. as the moment of it and what it inspires for the rest of us, that is the meaning. amy: provides a lebron, we first met ryan coogler and 2013 with "fruitvale" working with michael
b. jordan. about talking about police brutality, police killing a black man. of black men.ing >> the point is well taken. robyn's point about women more strongly through the black women characters i think is a point. carvell's point is also good. one thing that is troubling about all of this is even taking mr. coogler's past movie productions into account has to do with what it means for a --ie like this to come out the me take a step back. arvell's definition is incomplete. area i havem, an written on, is that only about how blacks in the future, but also a way of authorizing how we think about current moves.
you take "concrete park" and trying to retell stories of incarceration. part of what i thought black panther could be up to and i think a lot of people thought it was up to, was reconceptualizing the story of oppression. let me give you one basic example of how this breaks down. we have children being taken to the movie was a philly american black characters in the movie are the subjects of violence and rejection. at the very end and this neoliberal moment, a spatial comes out of the sky or flying machine comes out of the sky that was invisible first of kids go up to it. one of the final lines in the movie has the kids sang, "can we break it apart and sell it?" kidsld ask ryan coogler, don't want to break it apart. they want to get in it and fly. they want to go somemeplace. so this reproduction that american brown skin people,
[applause] wallace: [unclear] just a sec. i am, uh, exhausted by that introduction. i don't know about you. i didn't realize that all of that happened, uh, until just right now. [audience laughing] so, i'm gonna catch h my breath and, uh, i--i live in the santa cruz mountains with mymy partner dana and our daughters g grace d julia anand we live onon mill c.