I can’t use the word black without mentioning Marvel’s epic new film: Black Panther. Across the globe the movie has left people of different ages, races and nationalities saying #wakandaforever. This is a reflection of how ‘blackness’ is about believing more than it is about seeing. While ‘blackness’ was seen as a negative, we are seeing increasing value and positivity surrounding a race that has suffered extreme hardship. We are all human, regardless of the colour of our skin.
People have the ability to look back and still transcend the negativity, creating a new narrative that people are appreciating. Now they are able to look back so that they can create a better present and future. Black history is being learned more now (looking into various regions and cultures that African people come from). Taking those learnings and meshing it into various, yet cohesive narratives. ‘Africa’ in general can be seen as one of the most creative and exciting macro trends. When it comes to black people, it is a liberating and exciting time.
The role of men and women within the black race is being explored in new ways. Looking back into history, seeing roles from new perspectives that liberate and empower everyone. There is for one, a unifying of black people all over the world. On another level, there is a unifying of black people amongst other races.
I spoke to two young black girls and asked them what their favourite colour was, I was both surprised and unsurprised by their confident answers. Black. Both of them said black. One said black and white. This is a surprise because young girls usually favour brighter colours. It’s also unsurprising because of the positive sentiment that is held towards the colour, especially now. One of South Africa’s latest entertainment brand’s is called Black. Further highlighting the favourable image the word Black has.
One visible result has been in mixing cultural aesthetics. Be it a mix of various African aesthetics or mixing African aesthetics with Western ones. More people are feeling connected to something because of its ‘black’ association.
As brands, it’s important to tell divergent stories when it comes to being black. People have mostly listened to stories about slavery, poverty and racism. They are tired of the negativity and are filled with appreciation for stories and products that show ‘blackness’ in a heroic and optimistic light. Diddy, for example, makes a constant effort to shine a light on “Black Excellence”. Now and going forward, it’s the time to tell stories never heard and create products never seen, by black people for black people and all people. It isn’t just black people that want to hear and see these stories. Other races too are appreciating these new narratives.
While history and accuracy plays its part in present day story-telling it is just as important to be creative and think towards the future. Changing the way black people perceive themselves, people of other races and the world around them. To experience fulfillment, appreciation and love for being black. In addition to this allowing for other races to find relevance and a love for the stories unraveled and created about black people.