An Overlooked Theme in Marvel’s Black Panther

815CC401-BE74-42B9-9452-47CE21074E93While the Black Panther movie craze is still hot I really wanted to discuss what I think is an overlooked topic in the film regarding Okoye and W’Kabi. I have seen this movie twice and am working on seeing it a third time, but in 4D! (Inserts excited face here). Let me just say first, that although I do enjoy SOME superhero films, I am not in the least bit a Marvel fan, and for this reason was a little hesitant to seeing the film. However, deep down I knew that I wanted to see it because for once in my life Black people were displayed as the heroes on the big screen, which is something I feel like I had been subconsciously waiting for since I was about six years old! So, even though I wasn’t a Marvel fan I had to do it for the culture! And, I actually loved the film!

Let’s get to the point of it all ! Okoye and W’kabi! The particular scene I would like to address embodies so much power and begins when war breaks out among pro Killmonger Wakandians and pro T’Challa Wakandians.  Okoye, a general and W’Kabi’s lover, has a strong devotion and commitment to Wakanda. She is also pro T’Challa. She’s fighting to dismantle efforts of Killmonger’s continued reign as king.  W’kabi who is also fighting in this war is a proponent of Killmonger’s new ideas for Wakanda.  As W’kabi charges in on his Rhino he heads towards Okoye, but quickly stops as he sees Okoye step right in front of him and his rhino. She tells him to surrender and drop his weapon as she fiercely points her weapon at him to which he subtly says with an intense, yet loving glare, “Would you kill me my love?” And her reply was a strong sounding “For Wakanda? Yes!” At that very moment he drops his weapon, and falls to his knees humbly submitting and surrendering. There are several things I could dig out here but I’ll only list 3…

Men and Manipulation:

Notice what W’Kabi said and how he said it when he was face to face with Okoye. He referred to her as ‘my love’ after having questioned whether or not she would kill him.  It’s interesting to me that he used those words of endearment although he KNOWS he’s wrong for leaving his best friend’s side and becoming pro Killmonger.  I questioned if he used these words to try and play on her emotions hoping that she would break down, join his forces, fall into his arms ,and the both of them fight this war together? Some men (and women) are known for speaking sweet nothings into the ears of their lovers to make the opposite party feel and think a certain way i.e manipulate your feelings. Don’t let it happen! Never let anyone say or make you feel anything other than what you know and believe to be true. Be strong in your beliefs.  Say what you will and will not do. Fight for what you know to be true.


Partnerships and Equal Submission:

Society always assumes that only women are to submit to their husbands, especially the more so religious sector of society. However, I think relationships work best when both people submit to each other in various circumstances. As a woman, I will gladly submit to a man that deserves it, and I would hope he would do the same for me. Submitting to me is equivalent with yielding and displaying honor and respect which both partners should display to one another. One partner shouldn’t indefinitely submit to the other because both partners should be equal in relationship. Of course, both people will have different strengths and weaknesses, and there will be challenges which requires humbleness and respect to one another, that of which W’Kabi so elegantly showed when he kneeled to Okoye. I felt like at that moment he had the greatest respect for her. As he humbly submitted and surrendered he showed his love for her in the most endearing way possible. Yield, humble yourself, respect your partner, and at times you must surrender your argument and your ways for the betterment of the relationship and in this case for the betterment of Wakanda!


Conviction and The Physical and Spiritual Strength of Women:

Although initially Okoye struggled to defend T’Challa because of her loyalty to whoever sat on the thrown of Wakanda, she was quickly able to rise to the challenge of standing up for what she knew was right for herself and for her fellow citizens. She was courageous enough to engage in war and face the possibility of losing her partner W’Kabi and her life. She knew what was important to her and valued that and was willing to fight for that to the death! Like Okoye, so many women face struggles that may jeopardize their relationships and their lives. In the end I think the strong woman chooses herself, her convictions, and her values first although that can be difficult.  Any person who’s meant for you will respect that! Know whats important to you and fight to the death for it ! No exceptions!


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