Why Europe Will NEVER Return Africa's Vibranium
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Black Panther is all the rave in Hollywood. At least 80% of Black Hollywood must be feeling the Black Panther Effect by now so the rest of them MUST be feeling something, too!
As it stands, this film that was projected to fail miserably from the very beginning proved to be a real blockbuster with well over a record $1 billion in revenue worldwide, and became the top grossing superhero film of all time. The next Marvel installment, Avengers: Infinity War, revisited Wakanda and broke even more records. (How might a Black Panther sequel do?)
The central figure of the film, Erik Kilmonger, made this movie like none other. Even the charm of its protagonist T'Challa was no match for the raw nature...the indominable spirit...and the commanding presence of Killmonger.
When he won the title "King of Wakanda" in ritual combat (fair and square I must add), it was then that he began to wield a dangerous power uncontested. He was not as much concerned about ruling a nation that failed him and his ancestors as he was with a wider scheme. He was going to use this power to meet his own ends. It was just one step in his diabolical plans towards effecting a seemingly violent shift in the power balance (or imbalance, rather) of the world as we know it.
The focus of this article, however, is a certain scene in the film that came to characterize the villain more than any other.
The scene in the museum was the first time we got a real glimpse of Mr. Killmonger. It is here we get a peak into his criminal genius. And it is here that he is first observed in contact with the world as a man. It is here that we learn this man's M.O. - his modus operandi.
While criminal mastermind Klaue was there for the vibranium alone, Killmonger happened upon a tribal mask that he chose simply because, according to him, he liked it. He would wear this mask in subsequent scenes as a symbol of his mission to confront certain issues of the past and the present for himself and for people around the world.
The museum heist scene begins with a dialogue between Killmonger and the director of the museum, Mrs. Thomas. They start out in simple conversation that soon escalates into a rift between both of them with one taking an offensive and the other on the defensive.
At this moment, there is something that is - no doubt - lost on many viewers. The White director here represents more than just an employee with a name tag. There is plenty of symbolism here.
It is safe to assume that Killmonger and Klaue hit up many more museums that month. In the context of Killmonger's story, that director and the rest of her staff, along with those other museum representatives at the other museums, represent the face of former colonial powers around the world today. These would be former empires which dominated people all across the planet throughout A.D. history.
What many of us who watched this scene might have missed is that the artifact here in the form of an axe-head was more than a mere antique collectible object. It was more than even some ancient treasure. It was a resource.
Not only was it an ancient resource, but a resource that was still somehow useful in the modern world. Before Klaue broke the handle, it was a resource. It was still a resource even before that as it sat encased in a glass box inside a building with guards stationed around it every minute the museum was open and people came to see the historical value that was kept inside.
Every museum is a vault full of resources (the largest art museum in the United States brings in a revenue upwards of $500 million every year). Some of them will charge their visitors for entry. Some will accept donations from the public or from private sponsors. Some are operated by the national or local government where they are located. Either way, they all receive some form of monetary support as a result of events spanning a few centuries into the past.
Scientific Researcher, Independent Historian, and Co-Founder of Black Research Central