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A Letter to Young Black Panthers: Be the Hero of Your Own Story

As little kids, we would run around in gym class pretending to be Power Rangers.

There was one guy in our class who would make Power Ranger watches for us out of notebook paper [“It’s morphin’ time!] but we’d spend half the class arguing over who got to be who. See, the yellow ranger was a black girl on the show (sometimes) and the guys had the black ranger who was, well, black. But that’s it — that’s all we knew — and that game soon fizzled out because how many times could we all fight over being the same two TV heroes?

So saying Black Panther is an inspirational movie for me would be an understatement. As a black woman, I teared up at seeing us depicted as the superheroes we are, at having this history, and at understanding our potential as a people.

But more importantly, I was overwhelmed by emotion at what this movie means for the next generation. Watching theaters full of kids show up donning costumes of heroes that look like them or excitedly wearing traditional African pieces with pride meant a lot. Seeing them excitedly choosing “I’m him!” or “I’m her!” meant a lot. Seeing black kids and teenagers being black and celebrating their blackness in this very lit Black History Month was just too much not to feel good about.

Still on good opening weekend vibes and planning my next trip to Wakanda this week, I wanted to break down the Black Panther lessons for the future kings and queens to whom we’ll soon be passing the crown.

Your power is already in you.

You already have everything you need to be great. Just reach for it and use it.

Your rule, your rules.

Your parents, family, and ancestors made the foundation. Build on it and make it yours.

Marvel Studios Black Panther Nakia

“You get to decide what kind of king you are going to be.”

Black Panther

Posted by Marvel Studios on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wherever you go, you’re never alone.

You walk into every room with the support of your sisters, brothers, and ancestors. Even when you think you’re all alone, like Maya Angelou said, you still “stand as ten thousand.”

via GIPHY

People aren’t all evil.Understand how they got that way.

Remember that we’re all a result of events and circumstance. Sometimes, you have to look under the mask and see what those things are.

via GIPHY

You are the future, so make sure you understand it.

Learn all the math, science, and technology you can. You gotta help build the future.

via GIPHY

Remember that what binds us is greater than whatever may separate us.

Black and brown people all over the world are just like us. Travel, meet new people, and definitely embrace Mother Africa. Being there is just like coming home — because it is.

via GIPHY

When life gets hard and you think that you’re all spent, dig deep for more strength.

Just keep going.

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You walk this earth with other humans.

You have a responsibility to leave everything you touch at least a little better than you found it. In this interconnected world, you owe it to your fellow man.

Chadwick Boseman gets emotional during Black Panther interview

The impact of Black Panther is so powerful that even the cast can’t hold back their tears.

Posted by SiriusXM Entertainment on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Never let anyone steal your joy.

Dance and smile when you want to, dress up when you feel like it, let whatever joy that’s in your heart come out unapologetically.

 

That moment when the whole school finds out they’re going to see Marvel’s new movie, Black Panther!
#ronclarkacademy #blackpanther
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#Repost Ron Clark
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The students just found out we are all going to see BLACK PANTHER! We will have a day of cultural classes, African dancers, historical lessons and then we will all go see the film! Turn up!!!!

Posted by Ron Clark Academy on Friday, February 2, 2018

 

The world is yours.

Not only will you have the world, the truth is: you already do.

via GIPHY

 

What other lessons from the Black Panther would you share with young people? Let me know below.

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