I know what you’re thinking: this my third or fourth “Fleeting Frustrations” post in a row to talk critically about fandom or something a particular fandom does. I know it doesn’t seem all that fleeting and well… you’re right.
Because every single time I try to settle in the squee and have fun in my fandom(s), I’m reminded that Black people and characters aren’t respected in fandom.
This latest incident?
A Black Panther post-film story that pairs M’Baku up with a white female reader and portrays the Jabari as primitive and an author who apologizes to the person who requested the story – not the Black fans rightfully offended by the racist fanwork.
I don’t know about y’all, but I am tired.
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This awesome guest post comes courtesy of Samira Nadkarni! Images in the header are from ComingSoon.net (Spider-Verse) and KissThemGoodbye.net (Black Panther).
Earlier this week, I read Zina’s post on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the character of Miles Morales, and the idea of authenticity. While agreeing wholeheartedly with the post itself, I found myself struggling to articulate my current position, which is that while these films construct nationalistic racial and cultural narratives in ways that allow for reclamation and representation, the process of these claims seem to hinge on specific connections between fatherhood, masculinity, and nationality.
While women are present, and while mothers are present, they’re somehow not part of that narrative. This is a complex and confounding thing because these films aren’t being positioned as inherently patriarchal or lacking in female characters, yet the underlying implications of its narrative suggest extremely traditional patriarchal ideology.
My hope is that I can briefly trace this out here, and maybe that we can consider the ways in which films like Into the Spider-Verse and Black Panther centre Blackness, authenticity, heritage, a coming into oneself, and national identity, while also seeing how this amazing intergenerational space is somehow all about Black fathers and isn’t necessarily leaving a whole lot of room for Black mothers.Read More »
Originally posted back in March 2018 after realizing that the MCU fandom never actually stopped its anti-black nonsense. Best way to play? Spend some time scrolling through the unfiltered Black Panther tags on AO3 with a drink in your hand and drink every time you land on something in one of the squares. Repeat drinking is encouraged. (The original, archived inspiration.)
I’m back with another “fandom racism” card, this one more explicitly for the Black Panther fandom. I think this one can be used for scrolling through tumblr tags or AO3 as a drinking game, but I like my liver a bit too much to play it and see how it goes.
If you can’t read the bingo squares, here’s what they say (though the order may not match) and some handy links to explanationsRead More »
Note: Obvious spoilers for Infinity War.
Nakia receives word of T’challa’s death.
At first, Nakia thinks that she is one of the lucky ones.Read More »
In a (now deleted) tweet thread from April of this year, writer and artist Kate Leth went in on superhero media for the lack of queer representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The thread was fine and absolutely valid right up until the last tweet where she wrote that:
“There were queer characters in Ragnarok and Black Panther whose scenes were cut. Okoye was awkwardly made straight with a plot that went nowhere. Loki exists in subtext. It’s bullshit, pardon my french, that we’re just supposed to go “oh yeah of course, because of money”
You know what this tweet shows me?
It shows me that Leth might not be able to tell Black women apart from one another and that she doesn’t see the value in a character who chooses love of country and her faith in justice over the love of her life (after he sets himself against their country).
It shows me that while Leth knows the basics about the characters and the film (the cut scene with Ayo flirting with Okoye and the Ayo/Aneka relationship in the World of Wakanda comics), she doesn’t know enough to recognize that Okoye and Ayo (or Aneka) aren’t the same characters.
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From Hannibal Lecter eating the rude across the northeastern United States to Loki’s attempts to subjugate the human race and Kylo Ren’s patricide and misogyny, fandom just loves to look at villains who have committed atrocities and decide that they’re in fact complex characters who just need a redemption arc to set them on the right track (because they have a good reason for what they did/the heroes of the series are in fact the real villain) …
But only if they’re white dudes.
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Four times T’challa watched someone sleep and one time that the tables are turned.
Absolutely un-beta’d. Spoilers for Black Panther abound. The last two snippets are set between the end of the final fight scene and the last scene in California. They also diverge from the end of the film.
Content warnings for character death, trauma from character death, and implied violence.
The first time that T’challa holds his newborn sister Shuri in his arms, he worries for a moment that he’ll drop her. Then she nuzzles close in her sleep, tiny lips parting with a smacking yawn, and he knows that he’d never hurt her. Not even on accident.
She’s hours old and so very small, warm and soft in the cradle of his elbow, her dark little face tucked up against his chest. She barely has any hair atop her head aside from a faint whisper of black hair that is pitch black and feather light against the dark brown of her skin.Read More »
On the first day of Black History Month, a random writer on Archive of Our Own gave to me… two separate stories that framed Shuri – T’challa’s brilliant baby sister in Black Panther – as a character that couldn’t possibly be as smart as the MCU claims and as a victim of child abuse by the Wakandan elite who are “taking advantage” of her brilliance.
These stories were written in response to Black people calling out the author’s racism in deeming Shuri a Mary Sue in Black Panther in a tumblr post (that used the Black Panther tag) and subsequently writing off the film.Read More »
Whenever I talk about racebending as a concept when it comes to comics and comics-related properties, smartasses always show up to say something snarky like “what if Black Panther or some other Black hero were a white guy”.
They crowd into my mentions or any comment field they can get a hold of, trying to shout down my commentary by insisting that they’ve finally found the one way to get one over on supporters of racebending.
It’s supposed to be the kind of comment that leaves Black comic fans stumbling around in a haze formed by our hypocrisy (because if we don’t want characters of color whitewashed, we shouldn’t keep pushing for white characters to be racebent).
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A lot of people die in Captain America: Civil War.
Within the first twenty minutes alone, a good dozen people (at least) die between the confrontation with Rumlow and his men, the chase through the marketplace in Lagos, and the bomb.
You come to expect a lot of death in superhero films. Either the villains are killing people, the heroes are killing villains (and the occasional civilian casualty), or debris from a major fight kills people. Even superheroes who previous took oaths not to kill (like Batman) now shoot AR-15’s and snap necks to save the world.
That being said though, most (but not all) of the many people that die within the first few minutes of Captain America: Civil War are Black. In fact, most of the major incidents that trigger action within the film involve (or follow) the death and/or pain of Black people and how it affects white characters.
The point of this post is to look critically at how Black pain and death are handled in this movie and how Black pain and death in Civil War tends to revolve around white characters. I also aim to look at what it says about a film franchise that took over a decade before it had a film headlined by a Black character (and no Black women as main characters).Read More »
Yesterday, internet gossip revealed that 12 Years A Slave actress (and all around adorable human being) Lupita Nyong’o was in talks to star opposite Chadwick Boseman in 2018’s Black Panther solo movie. One of the earliest (now seemingly refuted) tidbits of information about this potential role was that Lupita would be playing the female lead and specifically would fill the love interest role.
Almost immediately, the concern trolls came out of the woodwork.
“Why do you have to reduce Lupita to a love interest,” they cried. “She’s a strong Black woman who doesn’t need a man. She should play one of the Dora Milaje or T’challa’s sister Shuri or someone else who has no romantic life and exists to be strong and undesirable (because Blackwomen can’t be strong and desirable at the same time).”
Because that makes all the sense…
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