Black Panther Movie, Slavery and Salsa!

Today – February 15th 2018 – I’m FINALLY going to see Marvel’s Black Panther movie! Yes, here in the Netherlands the cinemas started showing the movie yesterday! I just bought my ticket! The expectations are HIGH for this one, so I’m seeing it TONIGHT!

Being a comic book fan from when I was a 6 years old kid isn’t the only reason for my childlike excitement though. Neither is the fact of the Black Panther being the first black superhero. Nope. Actually, I’m really eager to see this movie for 2 reasons:

  • The fictional country of Wakanda, and
  • the dream of seeing a wealthy African nation which kept it’s natural resources to itself without any corruption caused by European meddling.

On one hand, Wakanda has the dilemma of choosing between keeping an isolationist policy to defend it’s technological superiority. On the other, many of the monarchy’s citizens consider opening its borders to aid the rest of humanity. Here’s a nice clip of a very interesting discussion between the actors of the Black Panther movie.

Just yesterday morning I gave 2 salsa workshops to dozens of teens at the Segbroek High in The Hague. Today I did the same at the Adelbert High in Wassenaar.  I told them about the Transatlantic slave trade, just the way I’ve been telling thousands of Dutch teens for the past 8 years.

Yes, I start my salsa dance workshops by making the 14 and 15 year olds ‘experience’ how it was being hard working slaves on a sugar cane plantation on the island of Hispaniola in the year 1748. The slave trade is the main cause for many of the problems most Africans have in this day and age. And it’s also one of the foundations of the Dutch wealth. But, without that black page in human history, we wouldn’t have had salsa, or any of the other afro latin dance and music styles for that matter.

This makes me reminisce on the first time I looked at real slave huts and listened to the hardships black people in shackles had to endure mining salt on the island of Bonaire for centuries. Bonaire was the biggest producer of salt in the area. Now the island is internationally renowned for having the best waters for scuba diving in the Caribbean sea. And – of course – the flamingo’s. We must not forget the flamingo’s 🙂

Part of the Bonaire International Dance Festival are the many sight seeing trips around the island. I’ve been 2 times to this wonderful festival, and both times I felt compelled to visit those tiny slave houses. For me, it was a very surreal and humbling experience seeing and hearing the agony and pain my ancestors had to endure for generations. As a black man, I feel very fortunate to be living in the 21st century. Luckily for me I wasn’t alone though. Customers and entertainers alike became friends whilst sharing these – and many more (!) special moments during the BIDF. Needless to say, I can’t wait to go to Bonaire again this September!

We travel all around the world attending various international afro latin dance festivals because we just love the afro latin dance culture. And we respect it’s origins. Now people of all skin colors dance together as equals, and all of us are slaves to this intoxicating music & dance. We just can’t get enough of it! So, what are you waiting for? Come, book your full pass, and join us! You will be welcomed with a big hug 🙂

As for the hero ‘the Black Panther’: In the past, many thought the name referenced the Black Panther American party of the 60’s. But that theory has been debunked by none other than Stan Lee himself. Check it out in VariantComics’ History of the Black Panther!

Lastly, I promise you I won’t spoil the movie… yet. Let me know in the comments what you thought of the movie and this article while you enjoy this Pantera Mambo dance choreography, and Joe Arroyo’s ‘La Rebelion’ (The Rebellion).

“Wakanda Forever!”