This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Lessons of Wakanda

One of the many things I loved about the movie Black Panther was the complexity of the relationship between T’Challa and Killmonger. This relationship and the history behind it illustrates the way that no one is all good or bad and that we cannot truly understand someone without knowing their “backstory” – the life experiences that created their worldview.

Looking at Killmonger, he can be seen as a villain: he has killed many people and his desire to take over the world with Wakandan vibranium is imperialistic in nature. On the other hand, we can also see that his life and worldview are a direct result of his being abandoned by his own family and left to live in poverty without a father. While you may disagree with his methods, it’s hard to disagree with his desire to help Black men and women in the African Diaspora rebel against oppression.

Similarly, looking at T’Challa, he can be seen as a hero for protecting his people. Yet, what about the fact that he never saw reaching out to those in the Diaspora as a priority? What about the fact that just as his father had abandoned Killmonger, T’Challa’s nation, as a whole, was abandoning Black people all over the world. It took Killmonger’s actions to bring T’Challa to understand this.

Who do you see as a villain who might be a hero in some ways?

Series Navigation<< #WakandaForever, Lesson #1#WakandaForever, Lesson #3 >>
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