In arguably one of the most predictable discourse developments imaginable, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been declared so important for the black community that white audiences must refrain from attending opening weekend screenings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in order to prove that they are “down for the cause”.
This needlessly divisive rhetoric was first raised in an October 24th TikTok video posted by self-described “social reform activist” (heavy emphasis on ‘self-described’, as even her own website appears to list her credentials in the field as little more than the operation of a seemingly defunct personal blog) Lavynder Lee.
If you go to see Wakanda Forever on opening weekend, you are anti-black
White people need to stay away so that black people can “enjoy that movie in peace” pic.twitter.com/jtiOxrFEHA
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) October 25, 2022
“This message is for all our would be accomplices and ‘white allies’,” Lee dismissively opened her now-deleted post, “This message is to all the white people who have BLM in their bio. If you really wanna prove to black people that you love us, and that you care about us, and that you’re down for the cause, do not go see [Black Panther: Wakanda Forever] opening weekend.”
“You buy your ticket, you give it to a black person or a black family who cannot afford to go and then you go and sit at that theater in front of the doors,” she explained. “You make sure that every black person in that theater can enjoy that movie in peace. You make sure you use your body to block us from anybody who would be coming into that theater to do us harm.
That’s right: unironically and without a hint of self-awareness, Lee has bafflingly encouraged white individuals to not only patronizingly seeking out ‘poor’ black people and not only do their ‘righteous duty’ of buying them a ticket to the latest Marvel CGI-smash-fest instead of offering any realistic help, but also act as their saviors against her fantasy group of racist mass attackers.
(As an aside, this particular piece of her declaration harkens back to the ‘incel mass shooting’ fears that surrounded the Joker, as like the journalists who so strongly pushed that narrative, Lee seems to be almost attempting to will such terrible acts into existence in order to engratiate themselves as an ‘expert’ in the discourse that would ensue.)
“That is your job,” Lee ordered. “You can go see it on another weekend. Go see it on the second or third weekend.”
“But that first weekend is for us,” she concluded. “To do anything other than this is anti-black.”
Unsurprisingly, Lee is not the only person to be pushing the idea that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s opening weekend should be segregated.
Taking to his personal Twitter account on October 26th, Hollywood Critics Association founder Scott Menzel challenged “all non-POC critics/journalists, big and small, to email their pr contacts and give up your seat to tonight’s #WakandaForever premiere or tomorrow’s screening to a critic or entertainment journalist of color.”
“#VoicesMatter #RepresentationMatters” he briefly added in support of his proposal.
At the very least putting his money where his mouth was, Menzel would later confirm to multiple users that he had personally followed through on his own request.
Of course, the elephant in the room is that it seems white people are being positioned in a ‘racist catch-22’.
Should they turn up to catch the film on opening weekend, ostensibly helping to support the narrative that “black women can lead the box office globally”, it seems they’ll be deemed as an “anti-black” bigot for depriving a black individual a seat to one of the thousands-upon-thousands of screenings of the latest Disney product.
However, should they instead stay at home and delay their viewings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, they’ll undoubtedly be accused of refusing to support films lead by non-white casts.
Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Such is the ideological trap of critical race and social justice theories.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11th, 2022.