Black children deserve the world. They deserve fantasy. They deserve movies and TV shows that look like them. They deserve to see the millions of ways Blackness exists. From Black superheroes to anime characters to scientists to doctors to teachers to garbage collectors to entrepreneurs to astronauts to inventors and everything else we already are. Black children deserve to see all of this, all the time, in mass.
Black kids deserve so much more than this world will ever offer them. So to see them light up while watching Black Panther and seeing them recognize that those skin tones are the skin tones in their houses and neighborhoods made me cry. To see us, Black millennials, light up at recognizing the threads of Blackness that run through the entire movie was a whole different level of excitement. To know that not only the actors are Black (and some graduated from HBCUs), but so was the director and so many people involved from top to bottom. A Black female Production Designer AND a Black female costume designer on a major Marvel movie??? You can feel the love and care and attention to detail.
When I tell you that losing our greats never gets easier, that’s the light way of phrasing it. Losing our greats too soon? That sting never goes away. From Michael, to Whitney, to Prince, to Nipsey, to Chadwick. And those are the cultural loses. That doesn’t count the siblings, parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and children we have lost as well from Covid-19, violence, and illness. It’s heavy. It’s a lot. At times, it feels like too much. And this isn’t abnormal for us. That abnormal part is that we are restricted in our grieving during this time. We grieve as a group. We gather. We talk. We share a meal. We exchange stories. Our normal living patterns have been disrupted. We are physically isolated. Some of us need to hug our grandmas and great aunts but can’t because we are terrified of unknowingly giving them Covid-19. Six months in, and we still aren’t sure how to navigate this new space.
On top of all of this, we are still dealing with police officers senselessly killing Black people while watching them let White kids skip around with AR-15s. Black kids deserve better. They don’t deserve to grow up like this. They deserve to be loved and protected from birth to death.
Thank you Chadwick, for being a face of possibility for a generation that has a hard time seeing the possibilities in their daily lives. Thank you for choosing to portray and tell stories of our past, our present, and our future. Thank you for loving us and your craft enough to push through when you didn’t have to. You could have stopped working, stopped giving interviews, and stopped showing up for the little ones. But you didn’t. And I can only imagine how much strength that took because I watched my Granddad transition from colon cancer every day for months. It was hard for us as a family. To experience that as a famous actor? All we can say is thank you and may you enjoy your time as an ancestor.