Black Panther – Rise Up

Black Panther – Rise Up

By Jesuorobo Enobakhare Jr

blackpanther throne

Ryan Coogler did an absolutely amazing job of fitting Wakanda into the real world by placing this secret utopia of black excellence into a world full of black suffering – our world.  The movie also excelled at connecting every black person on this planet as brothers and sisters.

Many consider N’Jadaka aka Eric Killmonger not to be a true villain. He was absolutely right in his convictions. His grievances were factually accurate as was his father N’Jobu’s. He embodied the anger that is pent up inside of mostly every African American in this country that normally isn’t expressed until times of extreme civil unrest; such as Ferguson.  The problem is that both Father and Son addressed it in the wrong way especially Killmonger’s perchance for violence against women and his desire to “Colonize” the colonizers.

But T’Chaka who could be a representation of the segment of the African American community in this country that feels they have “made it” was also wrong with how he handled his brother’s legitimate concerns.

T’Challa broke that cycle by listening to his cousin and learning from his Father’s failure and as a final act as king offered his cousin N’Jadaka mercy as he realized the misguided righteousness in his cousin’s mission.

T'Challa and N'Jadaka
Marvel Studios

The most powerful scene in the movie was when T’Challa visited the “ancestral plane.”  T’Challa saw his father for the first time since his death and fell to his knees sobbing to his father T’Chaka.  Before T’Chaka would address any of his son’s concerns, he first commanded, “STAND UP!!! YOU ARE A KING!!!”

Ancestral Plane
Marvel Studios

That message should ring loud and clear to every black man in this country and around the world. Stand Up and assume your position in your families! Stand Up and assume your position in your communities! Stand Up and assume your position in society! And last but definitely not least, Stand Up and assume your position in government!

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jesuorobo A. Enobakhare, Jr.

Contact him by email at jesuorobo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @Jesuorobo.

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The Forgotten Issue – Police Violence Against Black Men (and Women)

The Forgotten Issue – Police Violence Against Black Men (and Women)

kaepernick sitting

By Jesuorobo Enobakhare, Jr

A photo of  Colin Kaepernick tweeted out by Jennifer Lee Chan on August 26, 2016 launched a public debate.  Kaepernick stated his action (sitting, which led to kneeling, during the anthem) was due to the oppression of people of color and ongoing issues with police brutality.  However what was intended to draw attention to the demand for justice for people of color, quickly turned into a debate centered on patriotism, supporting the US Armed Forces, and First Amendment Rights; meanwhile the subject of his action was quickly and quietly ushered off of the main stage.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge a few of the unarmed men and women of color killed by police courtesy of Daniell Funke and Tina Susman of the LA Times http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-police-deaths-20160707-snap-htmlstory.html:

  • Alton Sterling, 37 Baton Rouge, LA – 2016
  • Gregory Gunn, 58 Montgomery, AL – 2016
  • Samuel DuBose, 43 Cincinnati, OH – 2015
  • Brendon Glenn, 29 Los Angeles, CA – 2015
  • Freddie Gray, 25 Baltimore, MD – 2015
  • Natasha McKenna, 37 Fairfax County, VA – 2015
  • Walter Scott, 50 Charleston, SC – 2015
  • Christian Taylor, 19 Arlington, TX – 2015
  • Michael Brown Jr., 18 Ferguson, MO – 2014
  • Ezell Ford, 25, Los Angeles, CA – 2014
  • Eric Garner, 43, Staten Island, NY – 2014
  • Akai Gurley, 28, New York, NY – 2014
  • Laquan McDonald, 17, Chicago, Il – 2014
  • Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland, OH – 2014

A few of the names you may be familiar with, all of the names many are not.  But most are familiar with Colin Kaepernick and by his actions he spoke for all of them.

In 2017 Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers. As of yet he has not been signed by another NFL team while at the same time police violence against black men and women has continued. Once again the conversation is not about the victims but has now shifted to the reasons for Colin Kaepernick not being signed by an NFL team, First Amendment Rights and NFL boycotts.

This reminds me of a scene from The Dark Knight – “You spat in the faces of Gotham’s worse criminals.  Didn’t you think there would be some casualties?  Things were always going to get worse before they got better.” – Alfred Pennyworth to Bruce Wayne (Batman).

Football is the most popular sport in America.  Racism and oppression of people of color has been a part of the American way since the founding of this country.  Colin Kaepernick unintentionally (or intentionally) drew a battle line against racism and oppression in front of millions of NFL fans.  The battle for the soul of our country was laid bare for all to see. But instead of the issue being confronted and finally resolved, the NFL owners have decided to fight to restore the status quo by the supposedly “quieting” of one voice.

Colin Kaepernick took a knee, not for you nor me, he took a knee for those voiceless known and unknown black men and women who were the victims of police violence and it is now up to us to not only be their voices in protest, but to also to work to change the system and end the bloodshed so that those lives lost will not be lives lost in vain.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jesuorobo A. Enobakhare, Jr.

Contact him by email at jesuorobo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @Jesuorobo.