Marvel’s Black Panther was without a doubt one of the most anticipated Marvel movies to date. In fact, based on ticket pre-sales alone, it was projected to be one of the most successful superhero movies to come out thus far. With the recent release of the full soundtrack and a plethora of trailers hitting social media, fans went into theaters fully amped to take in this spectacle.
As audiences gush over another successful release from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, many people have also used this opportunity to bring awareness back to the Black Panther Party.
Originally founded in October 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party (BPP), also known as the Black Panthers, was created to challenge police brutality against the African American community. Dressed in all black, the members took an active, and sometimes violent, role in fighting against any injustices that they witnessed. At the height of their success, the party had approximately 2,000 members to their name. Many notable people were members of the Black Panthers including Afeni Shakur, mother of well-known rapper Tupac.
However, due to the nature of their work and constant opposition with the FBI, the organization slowly started to decline. In 1989 the New Black Panther Party was founded, but any connection to the original party is denied.
Despite the many coincidences connecting the two, what many people don’t actually know is that Marvel’s Black Panther is not based on the BPP. In fact, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought their creation to life in July 1966, a couple of months before the creation of the party in October.
All else set aside, Marvel’s new release has audiences raving and will likely be bringing in fans for a couple weeks to come. It’ll be exciting to see what the final numbers at the box office will be after so much hype. It’s all a climb to Infinity Wars now…
Wakanda IRL — What Could Go Wrong?
Apparently a lot.
We’re all coming out of Marvel’s latest release on a high. Yes, Black Panther was an amazing movie. Yes, the soundtrack was lit, and yes, it would be really cool if a place like Wakanda actually existed IRL!
Well it does…kind of.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is lush with resources of cobalt. It’s not the vibranium that was used to make Captain America’s shield, but it’s important nonetheless. The sometimes forgotten metal plays essential roles in our day to day lives. Smartphones, laptops, and electric cars all run off of lithium-ion batteries, all of which use cobalt as a key component. From uses in cancer treatments to the construction of alloys for aircraft engines, we have taken this metal and integrated it into many everyday uses.
Which is great, a little different from Wakanda, where the stores of vibranium were a well kept secret from the rest of the world, despite all the amazing creations that it led to. However, Wakanda as a country was also better off then the DR Congo has ever been.
Colonization by the Europeans in Congo began in the late 15th and early 16th century. From the exploitation of their natural resources, to suffering years of civil unrest, the people of Congo have constantly suffered from times of turmoil. Genocide, slave trading and child labour, are but a a few of the horrors the country has been forced to face. Since 1998, five million people from the DR Congo have died from war or disease. In an article released by The Guardian, it was stated that children as young as the age of seven were being forced to mine for the cobalt that gets used in most household brands today.
As more awareness is created and the realities of the situation in the DR Congo are brought to the forefront, we can only hope that those with the power to make a difference step forward. Apple, Sony and Samsung, all companies that require sources of cobalt for their products, have made claims to take steps against any supplier that violates human rights.
The world was given a chance to get this right the first time. With bountiful resources, a beautiful country with even more beautiful people, the ‘real life’ Wakanda had started off with much opportunity and potential. It took an unstable government, vicious dictators, and unethical capitalists to bring the DR Congo to the state it has now become. Black Panther’s Wakanda paints a radical vision for all of us, of what it could have been.
The World Mourns the Loss of a Great Mind: Stephen Hawking
On March 14th, 2018, the world had to say goodbye to one of the greatest mind’s of our generation, Stephen Hawking.
“It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.” – S. Hawking
Professor Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a rare case of motor neuron disease at the age of 21 and was only given two years to live. Despite the continual deterioration of his condition, he was able to live out his life to the age of 76 and continue to do the work that he so loved.
Author of renowned A Brief History of Time, and known for his work on relativity and black holes, Hawking was able to take his research to new levels despite being wheelchair bound and forced to use a voice synthesizer to communicate.
According to his official website,
“Professor Stephen Hawking ha[d] thirteen honorary degrees. He was awarded CBE (1982), Companion of Honour (1989) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009). He [was] the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, most notably the Fundamental Physics prize (2013), Copley Medal (2006) and the Wolf Foundation prize (1988). He [was] a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.”
All of his award and acclaims notwithstanding, Hawking was also a loving father to three children who gave the following statement following the passing of their father,
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”
The world lost a great mind yesterday and as his close friends and family gather to mourn their loss, hopefully it gives some comfort to know, that he will not soon be forgotten.
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