As part of its recent series of content celebrating Black creators in SFF, Tor.com recently re-uploaded an essay I wrote for them in 2018 after Black Panther came out, about radical policy and the negative and positive aspects of letting your praxis be driven by personal rage, through the lens of Nakia and Killmonger.
I like this essay a lot. I think you should read it, just like I think everyone should watch—or rather, should have already watched—Black Panther itself. But in the current climate in which the essay’s been republished, I can’t help but find myself thinking deeply and complexly about one of the primary assumptions of that essay—
No, not whether Nakia was right. Nakia was right. Let’s be clear on this. Nakia was right the whole time, and it would be a different movie if T’Challa noticed sooner.
I am writing to you now from the second week of a national stay-at-home guideline. All schools are out for the term. Banks are cutting down their hours and negotiating the terms of debt restructuring for those financially affected by the shutdown. Restaurants are offering curbside and delivery service—even the fast food places that typically never had such a feature beforehand. For the first time, my preferred grocery has a curbside service where you can send them your grocery list, pay by card, and just pick up bags of your stuff at the door.
And these are perhaps the very least of what has changed here, let alone for many other people elsewhere. For lack of other descriptors, it’s terribly awe-inspiring what things the fear of a deadly virus can do to our sense of superstructure.