All Black Tech Everything!
Why the 2020 Marks the Birth of Wakanda
By F.S. Johnson
Serial Tech Entrepreneur & Founder Chairman & CEO of The EdisonXD International Holdings Corporation
It was just a year ago that the black community clamored to find Kente cloth and dashikis to don to the cinematic pilgrimage that was Marvel’s “Black Panther”. Not since the era of Spike Lee and his offerings of Do the Right Thing (1989) and Malcolm X (1992), has the entire black diaspora been so emotionally drawn to a motion picture. In many ways, Black Panther made Wakanda real in the collective consciousness of the black diaspora. I drew a special pride from the film since I personally know two of the film’s stars. I’ve known Chadwick Boseman, who plays King T’Challa/Black Panther, since our undergraduate days at Howard University. I also had the pleasure of watching Michael B. Jordan, who plays the role of Killmonger, grow up from a young teenager in our hometown of Newark. Both Michael and I graduated from, (albeit different eras) the prestigious Newark Arts High School in New Jersey, which is the country’s first public high school for the performance and visual arts. But even if I didn’t know the two leading men on a personal level, I would have been like the millions of other black folks who were moved by the film for the many reasons that captivated us all – Black Excellence on display in our full glory.
The story of a technologically advanced African nation that chose to hide itself from the world, using the very technology they vow to protect, ran many parallels to the story of black excellence in America. For me, it takes me back to the poetic words of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s We Wear the Mask. Dunbar’s powerful poem read,
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties,
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile,
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!”
To be continued…