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Editorial/OP-ED

Opinion | After Chadwick Boseman’s Iconic Black Panther, Should King T’Challa Be Recast?

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In recent years, filmmakers have increasingly performed what’s known as “fan service” — making creative choices that acknowledge or acquiesce to the desires of fans. At its best, fan service is charming. It allows fans to feel seen and heard. It allows them to believe they have a small hand in a huge creative endeavor. At its worst, fan service can be exploitative, sexist or racist. Very often, it panders, making a movie or show feel as though it has no distinct point of view or creative vision, that the creators’ desperation for public approval has trumped good storytelling or creative ambition.

There was no choice Marvel and Mr. Coogler could have made that would please everyone. If they recast King T’Challa, many would have thought it too soon after Mr. Boseman’s death. If they simply disappeared him for a movie by inventing a reason to place him on a mission somewhere, his absence would have been a distraction. Killing him off, as they appear to have done, has angered some.

And, unfortunately, whichever character, and actor, takes on the mantle of Black Panther next will bear the brunt of fans’ doubts, disappointment and derision — particularly if the new Black Panther will be, as some have speculated, a woman. Heaven forbid! (We’ve seen this time and again, most notably in the Star Wars franchise, where actors of color have endured unconscionable harassment for contradicting certain fans’ notions of who can be heroic in our imagined, interstellar futures.)

For the time being, the filmmakers made the best decision they could. It would be deeply unfair to expect any actor, however talented, to step into the massive shoes Mr. Boseman left behind. The new King T’Challa would forever compete with our memory of the original. The successor would be expected to somehow channel Mr. Boseman’s swagger and gravitas, to replace the irreplaceable. And when the actor who plays the new king inevitably disappointed audiences for not actually being Mr. Boseman, he would become the target of intense ire. We should not ask anyone to be placed in that line of fire.

The #RecastTChalla movement seems well intended. But the fundamental issue isn’t whether or not a role in one movie should be recast; it’s about what representation demands. Black Panther, in 2018, bore the weight of outsize fan expectations, as a groundbreaking Black superhero leading a major film. That is an unreasonable burden to place on one character, on one actor, on one film. Black people — men and boys as mentioned in the petition, but also women and girls — should have more than one superhero to enjoy and see themselves in. So should people of other races and ethnicities, cultures and identities. We should not be asking Marvel to recast T’Challa; we should be asking it to expand the roster of heroes. We have to think bigger and demand more.

Whatever happens in the next Black Panther movie, the #RecastTChalla proponents may ultimately get their wish. In recent years, Marvel has introduced us to the multiverse, which allows for multiple realities to coexist (and for infinite extensions of its intellectual property). In the multiverse, there may be realities where T’Challa is alive and well and saving the world as Black Panther. We may still see some of those stories.

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A journalist since 1994, he also founded DMGlobal Marketing & Public Relations. Glover has an extensive list of clients including corporations, non-profits, government agencies, politics, business owners, PR firms, and attorneys.

Editorial/OP-ED

Timothy and Feather – An Urban Tale

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(Montgomery Village, Maryland – November 18, 2022) – Timothy was perched on a tree limb, watching the hawk fly circles in the sky. It was a beautiful sight. Timothy had always been fascinated by the bird. He admired its’ grace and power. And it was his mission to catch this hawk!

Then, without warning, the hawk swooped down at its future owner, Timothy, who quickly ducked out of the way, but not before getting gashed, on the back, by the hawk’s talons. The hawk crashed to the ground with a thud, tangled in Timothy’s net.

Timothy couldn’t believe his luck! He had captured his very own hawk! Now he would be able to train it to be his personal pet.

He took Feather, the hawk, home and started to train her how to obey commands. She was a quick learner and soon they were working together like a well-oiled machine. They fought crime in their small town in Mississippi and saved many people from danger.

Townspeople began to come up with a name for the duo.

 

If you’re reading this story, if you have a name for the tag team duo, email me at robaerwashington@yahoo.com.

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Editorial/OP-ED

5 Ways to Attract Community Grants

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Attracting community grants is essential for any non-profit organization, and Baltimore-based organizations are no exception. To attract community grant funds, Baltimore-based non-profits should focus on five key strategies: Outreach and Networking, Research and Writing, Proposal Development, Budget Preparation, and Evaluation.

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Editorial/OP-ED

Keeping Good Character and a Good Name – In The Past, In The Present

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Mr. Robaer D. Washington

(GAITHERSBURG, MD) –

This week I crossed paths with two of my good friends from my college days at Howard University: one I hadn’t seen in ten years, another I hadn’t seen in 15 years. The basic respect was still there and in those two instances we were able to make time with each other (at least 15 minutes each) without neither of us feeling that there was a need to rush off. I was even able to exchange phone numbers with both.

After 15 years there can be some level of angst about exchanging personal contact information with another that you have not seen in years. Questions CAN begin to arise: what do they want from me; I hope they don’t ask for money; is this bum gonna ask me out on a date (one of my encounters was a female, lol), etc., questions that can lead to this angst. But that was not the case with my encounters.

The purpose of this short article is to remind readers of this: keep good character and keep good reputation. Also, wear clean clothes and keep good hygiene. When people from your past encounter you, in the future, those former memories of the positive times that they had with you should be on the forefront of their minds when they interact with you.

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