Black Panther, Afro-Futurism, And A Reality Check: There Isn’t A Successful Black Nation On Earth


President Donald J. Trump recently broke international headlines by allegedly describing Haiti as a “shithole country” behind closed doors. Despite Haiti ranking 165th out of the 177 countries studied by Transparency International’s index of corruption perception, the world appeared to take great surprise at Trump’s description of the state of affairs. But I digress. 

Perhaps the American leader’s words were ill-placed in a teleological sense. With the most recent iteration of the Avengers cinematic universe, Black Panther, an oddly Afro-futurist understanding of black history and culture has been supported by a number of black nationalists. 

The Economist Intelligence Unit, a British business research group, reckons that Africa accounted for more than 3% of global manufacturing output in the 1970s, but this percentage has since halved. It warns that Africa’s manufacturing industry is likely to remain small throughout the remainder of this decade.

Additionally, the Los Angeles Times wrote an article in 2012 detailing a serious case of Ghanaian witch camps. “In the witch camps of Ghana, ” the article reads, “the dying contortions of a slaughtered chicken determine the guilt of an accused woman: witch, or not. If the chicken falls with its head down and its feet in the air, the woman is declared a witch and she must spend the rest of her days in the squalor of the camp, abandoned by her family, with just one unfortunate young relation sent by her family to care for her until she dies. And if the chicken collapses feet down and she’s declared innocent of witchcraft? She still must spend her remaining years in the camp, just in case some villagers don’t believe in her innocence.”

Certainly, a society with such a serious case of unaddressed cruelty and superstition cannot be heralded as anything other than a “shithole” country, but I digress. 

Black Panther is a cinematic work that heralds forward a cultural movement. The director of the film, Ryan Coogler, believes that, “views of Africa and African culture, almost as a direct result of colonisation, are oftentimes very limited in terms of time. It’s explored only in certain chunks of time. And I think, because the continent of Africa and humanity on that continent is so old, you know, that that’s a horrible disservice to the people that come from those cultures.” Effectively, in the opinion of the film’s director, any subpar view of Africa and African culture that does not glorify blackness as a collective identity is “a direct result of colonization.” To believe that the blame of contemporary African incapability can be laid at the feet of the white man is to blame the conquer 

The Afrocentric genre that Black Panther so eloquently fits onto the big screen is, however, little more than a fictional ploy. Northern African countries, including Egypt, have accomplished incredible cultural feats; however, considerable modern scholastic consensus concludes that the black identity shared by many South Africans today was entirely absent in Ancient Egypt. According to Dr. George Gliddon, a 19th century Egyptologist, “The Egyptians were white men, of no darker hue than a pure Arab, a Jew, or a Phoenician.” 

The cold, harsh reality is that South Africa is wholly underdeveloped and, without immense aid from American and other developed governments, the region will likely degrade to the point of African extinction. Reality check. There is not a single successful black nation in the world.