Album: ‘Black Panther: The Album’ (2018) by Mampintsha, Camp Masters
The ‘Black Panther’ album captures the story of Marvel’s “Black Panther,” and the essence of the Black experience in the U.S. through a semi-fictional plot. The album opens the space for Black voices and narratives—whether in the U.S. or across the world. The plot in the movie tells the story of Wakanda, yet the tragically brilliant story of Erik Killmonger who was of Wakandan ethnicity but grew up in the U.S. Killmonger’s characterization and story was entirely different from that of Prince T’Challa’s, but it demonstrates the diverse and multifaceted stories of Black people around the world. The album broadcasts the plot of ‘Black Panther’ and the unique diversity to the Black experience and stories.
Book: ‘The Color Purple’ (1982) by Alice Walker
‘The Color Purple’ accounts the fictional narrative of African American women in the early 20th century in rural Georgia. The plot focuses on two sisters, Celie and Nettie, who are separated in their youth, but keep a strong bond through a series of letters over their time and distance apart. The book contains multiple themes, including the critical nature of racism & sexism and the growth process of overcoming multifaceted struggles that are specific to Black characters in the book. It communicates a hard cultural experience for the Black Americans in the story, but portrays a journey of togetherness and resiliency—something that’s not often emphasized when Black stories are told.
TV Show: ‘Dear White People’ (2017-2021) created by Justin Simien
‘Dear White People’ is a comedy-drama series on Netflix that presents Black students at an Ivy League educational institution. The students at the university navigate through prevalent racial and social issues at their university and within their social circles. A significant aspect of the show is giving a foundation to the complexities of Black identity, especially in an academic setting and opening conversations about race relations for American youth.
Movie: ‘Crash’ (2004) directed by Paul Haggis
This crime drama film captures several connected stories that lead a major thematic narrative about race, class, family and gender in Los Angeles. The premise of the film surrounds the stories of people who are from diverse backgrounds—from diverse authority figures under the system to immigrants attempting to make a living—there’s a specific structure to the narrative. It demonstrates the critical realities people may face in the nation, and lends perspective to the faulty view that the U.S. is a post-racial society. Haggis embodies the harsh reality of social issues that have been prevalent for decades post-Civil Rights era, and persist to impact American society—but in a semi-fictional narrative.