Thursday, April 7, 2016


Ta-Nehisi Coates on ‘Black Panther’ and Creating a Comic That Reflects the Black Experience:

BLACK PANTHER is the blackest superhero to come from the creative geniuses at MARVEL COMICS, and he is back on the scene with a vengeance!!!
The superhero, which was first created by Marvel in 1966 amidst the civil rights movement, got a major makeover and a new story fresh from one of the most woke writers in the game right now.
Author/Educator/Journalist TA-NEHISI COATES reportedly has turned in the scripts for 11 issues of Black Panther. #1 hasn't even come out yet!  
THEYBF reports BLACK PANTHER had 330,000 pre-orders before it's April 6th release.  
Writer TA-NEHISI COATES, Comic Artist BRINA STELFREEZE, character T'CHALLA from upcoming BLACK PANTHER and CAPTAIN AMERICA films will be portrayed by 42 film star CHADIC BOZEMAN, BLACK PANTHER film will be led by Director RYAN COOLER. They ALL are BLACK MEN.
Here are some interview interludes:

VICE: BETWEEN The WORLD And ME opens in a way that is, to me, very important. It begins with the word "son." The audience is your son, a black young man. If white audiences choose to listen in, they may, but you're clear from the start: This was written without them in mind. I have to admit: I actually shied away from reading a lot of your work until that book. I knew you weren't writing explicitly for white audiences, but I still thought that your work was not "for me"—that is, given your mainstream platform, I didn't think you were saying anything that I, an angry black woman, wouldn't already know. I used to believe that challenging myself was the only way forward, but I've since learned my limits. I've since learned that sometimes I need affirmation. So I have a question about audience that's probably going to sound more polarizing than I mean it to be: Is this Black Panther for us? Or has it been made with whiteness in mind?Ta-Nehisi Coates: [Laughs] That's a great question. You know, I learned something from Between the World and Me. I think it's something I already knew and probably should have taken to heart: You get to the universal by the specific.
I'm black. I'm from West Baltimore. I've lived in black communities all my life; it's the experience I know. I can't help but pull from that. It's a part of me, but I think the notion that by writing out of an African American experience, it necessarily means no one else will want to see it—that's probably a false dichotomy. So, I would say: "Yes, it is 'for us,'" but in the course of being 'for us,' it becomes for everyone.
You can take Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God as an example. It's written firmly within the black experience, but I don't think there's anything about that book—and I think time has proven this to be true—that has prevented people who are not black from reading it, from enjoying it, from inhaling it. I was lucky enough to see Ryan Coogler's Creed a couple of weeks ago—he's going to be directing the Black Panther movie—and Creed is a movie that is firmly rooted in the African American experience. And it's very, very clearly an AMERICAN film.
So I guess I don't recognize the same dichotomy. I think we write out of our experiences if we're writing right. If we're writing from anything else, we're not really being true.
There's a lot of care required when depicting black bodies—ours are political and how they are used, visually, has played a role in our lives in a life-or-death capacity. Could you talk a bit more about your development process with artist Brian Stelfreeze?
Maybe I had too much confidence about this, but I wasn't too worried about the bodies of the black dudes. I felt like I was on pretty good terrain with that.
Instead, we talked a lot—between me, Brian, and our editor Will Moss—about the things that we have to do being three dudes working on this. Four, including our associate editor, Chris Robinson. (We have one woman on our creative team, colorist Laura Martin.) There's an angle dealing with, for lack of better words, feminist issues in the book. I wanted to take great, great care with the depiction of the bodies of women because of where the storyline is going. I didn't want to have women at the center of the story, to have them partially leading it, and then have the depiction be, how shall we say, problematic.
I just wanted to make sure we were depicting folks the way they should be. Not just in images but even in my own writing. We have this kiss between two women in the first issue, and I wrote to Brian: "It shouldn't be like softcore porn. It should be tender. It should be beautiful. It should be human." There'll be a bunch of dudes reading the book from the dude gaze, like, "Oh, it's two women kissing!" and that was really the thing we had to talk about: how it would look to the women as opposed to how it would look to us.
Ta-Nehisi Coates on ‘Black Panther’ and Creating a Comic That Reflects the Black Experience:

o I wanted to talk about your work with Marvel here because they've gotten some flack in the last year for their track record with black creatorstheir appropriative use of hip-hop in their variant covers, and their general dismissal of black critique. How did these controversies impact your decision to work with them?
It didn't, really. I mean, I love the hip-hop covers! I'm telling you this sitting in the Marvel offices, but this is me speaking right here.
You gotta understandand in fact, I actually wrote about this before I was contracted by MarvelI was born in the 1970s and came up in the 1980s. Marvel was one of the few places you could see black heroes. They weren't really on TV or in the movies, but they were there in Marvel's comics and weirdly (or perhaps there's some synergy there) in hip-hop. 
Marvel was where I saw Rhodey. Marvel was where I saw Storm. Marvel was where I saw Luke Cageeven with his problematic depiction at the time. Marvel was where I saw Misty Knight. And that's just black folks. That's not even speaking to anybody else's experiences.
You can go back and forth on how those folks were depicted and have critiques of that, but they also didn't exist anywhere else. That wasn't a conversation that could be had, say, about primetime television. It couldn't even get to the level of "how are these folks being depicted?" because they just weren't there. For me, in terms of diversity, Marvel was one of the high points.
I'm curious, given your journalistic and critical background, what it's been like taking the theory of your work and putting it into narrative practice with the additional duty to entertain.
In journalism, the storytelling is always there. There's always a narrative. There's always a story, but, of course, the political point you're trying to make is much more prominent. But when you're writing fiction, your politics are in the back of your head. It's not like I'm going out of my way to show XY, and Z—discussion is baked into the writing. First and foremost, I want to write an exciting, deeply engrossing book. My politics are my politics, and, you know, for example, you probably won't see T'Challa at a Black Lives Matter rally. That doesn't mean Black Lives Matter isn't important, but it's not on top. I'm trying to tell a good story. That has to be the most important thing.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on ‘Black Panther’ and Creating a Comic That Reflects the Black Experience:


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