Man is condemned to be free

What is meant here by saying that existence precedes essence? It means first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself. If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be.”

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning. Life has no meaning a priori; It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.

Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is.
― Jean-Paul Sartre

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Wakanda Forever!

Despite the hype (or rather because of the hype), I was not gung ho about Black Panther. For one thing I am not a fan of the action genre. Every time I go see an action film, I sit there wondering what on earth led me there yet again, before falling into a deep slumber. So when everyone was planning their outfits and dance routines I was just meh about the whole thing and had no plans to go see it.

Then at the very last minute I decided what the hell? I had nothing else planned for the evening, might as well go see it. I figured the film is set in Africa, how boring could it really be?

The verdict: Black Panther did not disappoint. It did not change my life and I probably will not see it again but I watched all two hours 14 minutes without dozing off or regretting my decision to watch it. The film was aesthetically pleasing; every shot from the opening scene to the end was a delight. The costumes, the set, the culture, the colours were all so beautiful.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle on social media when a man gave Black Panther its first bad review on Rotten Tomatoes, consequently demoting it from its 100% status. The man’s complaint was that the superhero did not kill many bad guys, and this earned him the wrath of people who tagged him a racist.  After watching the film I see that he was right, however this is one of the reasons the film did not feel like a drag to me. Typical action films involve so much killing and violence; the superhero is always flitting around saving the world and killing thousands in the process. Black panther has only a few fight scenes, in fact there were long stretches in the film that felt like a nice South-African drama. There was no strange alien robot out to destroy the world; the Russians were not in possession of a USB stick that held the world’s secrets. This may be a con for some but it made it more enjoyable for me.

Let’s talk about accents: they were a bit uncomfortable to listen to, especially at the beginning. I understand they were playing Africans but at times I wished they would just speak in their regular accents. It was a breath of fresh air when Michael B Jordan appeared speaking his normal twang. Then again I guess if British actors can do American accents then American actors should be able to do other accents. Maybe it sounded odd to me because I am not too familiar with the South African accents used by majority of the characters in the film. The character M’baku’s accent was different from the rest and it felt a whole lot more natural. I would have bet my entire annual salary that the actor was Nigerian, Igbo to be specific. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the actor Winston Duke is actually from Trinidad and Tobago! Fantastic actor, he had me thinking his name was Uchenna Chukwugoziegi. Definitely looking forward to seeing him in other roles.

One thing to note from Winston’s Vanity Fair interview is that he and Lupita were friends at Yale drama school and they both belonged to an acting club for people of colour which was co-founded by Angela Basset. Amazing!

Letitia Wright is such a cutie pie and I have been in like with her face since I saw her in an episode of Black Mirror.

I don’t really have any negatives about the movie ***Spoiler begins*** I did find it weird that Killmonger did not just kill Klaue from the beginning if that was his intention all along. Why did he go through all of that? Maybe he was trying to win his trust. Why did Killmonger destroy all the herbs? I get that he did not want anyone else to become king but surely a person like himself must have thought of his progeny. ****Spoiler Ends****

One thing I found interesting is that Black Panther and Wakanda represent hope for Black people everywhere, particularly Black Americans. People were (facetiously) talking of moving to Wakanda, and how Wakanda is what Africa would have achieved without colonisation. Yet Wakanda in the film was not trying to empower Black Americans but instead keep its wealth to itself.  Everyone was screaming Wakanda Forever but you can’t even get into Wakanda. Of course I know that the excitement was really about people finally seeing themselves celebrated on the big screen, but I must have gotten caught up in the hype because I was a bit surprised that Wakanda was not actually Black utopia.

Highest of praises to the Almighty that no one showed up at the viewing with drums or masquerades and we were able to watch it in peace. It was nice though to see pictures of people dressed up and having a great time. I hope for more films like this for African Americans and I especially hope that African cinema steps its game up.

Tonight I love you

“Tonight I love you in a way that you have not known in me: I am neither worn down by travels nor wrapped up in the desire for your presence. I am mastering my love for you and turning it inwards as a constituent element of myself. This happens much more often than I admit to you, but seldom when I’m writing to you. Try to understand me: I love you while paying attention to external things. At Toulouse I simply loved you. Tonight I love you on a spring evening. I love you with the window open. You are mine, and things are mine, and my love alters the things around me and the things around me alter my love.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

No other destiny

“Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

 

That which must not be said and other tales.

There is this word that is so terrible that not only must it not be used to refer to people it must also never been uttered or written or even thought of. How do we ensure that no one ever says it? By putting it in songs which are then exported to millions of people around the world, that’s how.

Every other day there is a controversy over someone saying Nigga (or the N word to the less privileged). Ninety-nine percent of the time, the controversy is not about a Black person being called the word, but that the word even left a non Black person’s mouth. Ninety nine percent of the time, it is about a person singing along to a song which has the word in it and having the audacity to sing the word along with all the other words of the song.

In the midst of the furor, two thoughts play in my head: 1) Why do people keep recording themselves singing along to a song that has the word in it? Surely by now you know it will cause chaos. 2) Are we really going to keep pretending that it is not dumb and fruitless to expect people not to say a word that is in a song available for everyone to listen to? Continue reading