This week many Black people in the Black community are celebrating the premiere of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. And while many have bought tickets to see the film, most brothers and sistas aren’t thinking about supporting many of the independent Black comic book creators and Black fantasy writers like myself. The greatest tragedy regarding the frenzy over the Black Panther movie is that while we celebrate Marvel’s first Black superhero come to life onscreen, many Black people are ignoring all the Black fantasy writers and Black comic book creators who have been working hard in the medium for years.
Black Panther is set to have a huge opening weekend on the week of Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately during Black History month most Black people are showing how little love we have for ourselves by spending so much money to see a Black superhero created by two White Jews. Yes, Black Panther will have a huge opening for the White executives at Disney, but what about all the Black creators like myself?
Isis series or TheTemptation of John Haynes. Nor has there been a surge of interest in the work of other Black comic creators and Black sci-fi creators. From the looks of things Most Black people have been eager to give their money to Disney for the Black Panther movie, and Black Panther merchandise, but no one in the Black community has a comprehensive plan to bring readers and business to Black fantasy and comic creators, so they can bring some of those dollars back to the Black community so they can be reinvested in hiring other Black people for other projects.
Instead of Black people creating a comprehensive plan to put make the Black Panther movie work for Black people, most Black folks are just planning on spending all their money with Disney, not thinking about how those dollars will be reinvested in their own communities. Keeping 97% of Black dollars flowing out of the Black community and enriching White executives at Disney at our own expense.
Damn. Just Damn.
Worse, we have many teachers and principals at schools reinforcing this way of thinking by buying up blocks of tickets for Black Panther for Black kids. The message many tea sending to kids isn’t Black pride, but that anything Black only has a value if they’re supported by a White person or promoted by a White Corporation like Disney. If all those teachers and education officials spent as much money sharing the work of Black fantasy authors like myself in their libraries over the past year it would have had a have a huge impact on the minds of a generation of Black students all across this country. As those Black kids saw teachers putting Black first, they would learn to go out and seek out the work of Black fantasy and sci-fi creators all across this country, not just see Black Panther and Marvel’s brand-name characters as the end all for all things Black.
Isis series book, E’steem series book or a novel like The Temptation of John Haynes not only keeps Black dollars in the Black community, but provides creator like myself with the capital we need to improve the quality of our publications and do things like hire Black artists to design our covers, and advertise our products on media platforms like radio and television.
It’s great that we have a Black Panther movie on the silver screen. But we have to start thinking Black first as related to the Black community. There needs to be a serious effort to make more Black people aware of the fantasy and comic books published by Independent Black creators, and a serious effort by Black people to support the work of Independent Black creators like myself. If Black people want to see more Black superheroes and fantasy characters in the media then we have to put Black dollars behind Black characters by Black creators before we go out and buy Marvel or DC.