“Nah, just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships. Because they knew death was better than bondage,” Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) states just before taking his final breath at the end of Black Panther.
Rotten Tomatoes recently dubbed Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, “the best movie of all time.” This film has a powerful message about black empowerment for the world to hear. Similarly, so does NBA All-Star LeBron James.
This past Sunday, the NBA All-Star Game, featuring Team LeBron and Team Stephen (Curry), went down as one of the league’s most important games, not because of what happened on the court, but because of what was said in interviews off the court.
Several days before the game, Fox News host Laura Ingraham told James to “shut up and dribble” after James made a comment about Donald Trump not caring about people. What was intended to be a diss to James resulted in bringing even more attention to his political platform. “The best thing she did was help me create more awareness,” James said in an interview before the game, never once mentioning Ingraham by name.
While James gets paid millions a year for his athletic abilities, that’s not all he brings to the table in this discussion, and for good reason. As the father of three young children, James feels obliged to protect the younger generation, speaking out on racial injustice, police brutality, and how this country is (very poorly) run. “The hardest thing in the world for me personally is raising two African-American boys and an African-American daughter in today’s society,” James said. “I do this because it’s bigger than me personally.”
While the NFL’s TV rating went down 9.7 percent in 2017 (possibly related to Colin Kaepernick bravely taking a knee to protest racial injustice in 2016), the NBA saw an increase in television viewership and broke their attendance records for the third season in a row, according to Jerry Bembry, a senior writer at The Undefeated. The NBA players’ interests in speaking their truth and bringing attention to social injustices is clearly not scaring fans away. LeBron James has 40 million Twitter followers, and his fan base is only growing. The Laura Ingraham controversy brought even more attention to the fight for black empowerment. For an in-depth look at the issue, read more about it at http://theundefeated.com/features/lebron-james-to-take-floor-for-nba-all-star-game-as-the-most-powerful-voice-in-his-profession/.
As for Black Panther, this movie will go down in history as one of the most important films of all time. As someone who doesn’t even like superhero movies, I was blown away by this film and will definitely be heading back to the theater for a second viewing.
The world is shifting, and people like LeBron James and director Ryan Coogler are at the forefront of this movement, fearlessly and relentlessly speaking up for generations of voices that have not been heard.
Do yourself a favor and go see Black Panther this weekend, and show your support for athletes like LeBron James, who aren’t afraid to speak their truth, even if you’re not a fan of the NBA or the Cleveland Cavaliers.