BLACK PANTHER (2018) & SHAFT (1971)

Shut your mouth. Wakanda Forever! This week, Nakea is picking the movies and taking the reins, as we discuss two cinematic milestones featuring black action heroes: Shaft (1971) and Black Panther (2018).

We're starting out with a long, spoiler-free fangasm about Ryan Coogler's new superhero blockbuster, before taking a deep dive into Gordon Parks' landmark blaxploitation classic. It's a conversation that ranges all over the diaspora, covering the history of black film heroes, the importance of representation, and the all-important question of who'd win in a fight: King T'Challa or John Shaft?


—0:00: Prologue: "All the Time?" by Lee Edward Colson
—0:57: Intro and Black Panther discussion
—31:23: Black Panther trailer
—32:44: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of Shaft
—44:47: Shaft trailer
—45:19: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of Shaft
—1:19:38: Outro and Next Week's Movie
—1:21:16: Outtake

Notes and Links

—Films discussed: Black Panther (dir. Ryan Coogler, Marvel Studios, 2018) and Shaft (dir. Gordon Parks, MGM, 1971)
—Introductory audio ("All the Time?") is from an awesome video posted by Twitter-user Lee Edward Colson (@leecolston2).
— Check out and support the "Wakanda the Vote" initiative by the Electoral Justice Project.
—Articles discussed: "Black Panther and The Invention of Africa," by Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker; "Black Panther a watershed in cultural history of African Americans," by Leonard Pitts, Jr., Miami Herald; "Black Panther begets political action beyond the big screen," Angela Helm, The Root.
—Interview discussed: "Gordon Parks' Big Score," Roger Ebert,
—Book discussed: Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Filmby Ed Gerraro.
Tweet discussed by Daniel Kibblesmith (@kibblesmith).

The Unaffiliated Critic

Michael G. McDunnah is a freelance writer, a recovering lit major, a pop-culture junkie, and an unaffiliated critic. He lives in Chicago.

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