The original Black Panther was a woman, Sarrounia Mangou. The stories for the comic and movie were grafted from essays and stories publicized by Baba Credo Mutwa.
Because they’re about traditions and legends that are cultural property, Hollywood gets away with rewriting and packaging them in a way that is more palatable or entertaining to the mainstream (read “white” Americans) without crediting the people they came from or even mentioning where they heard it.
My only disagreement with Ivie is this: we are telling our own stories. We are writing, drawing, painting, and singing our own stories. What we are not doing is investing in our people who are telling our stories. We aren’t looking us up. We don’t link to us. We would rather post our art as if they are public property memes made by anonymous people. We would rather post on a mainstream social media platform where we are either invisible or a target for terrorists.
We are also neglecting our people offering us resources to promote our stories in places that are safe for us. I have been offering free web promotion at Africans.live for months and so far, only two people of African ancestry have sites in my domain and none have signed up for the free option to post their own content where they don’t have to fight anyone else in an algorithm.
It is very discouraging that we are so used to being undervalued and told we are worthless that we don’t know what to do in a situation that is actually profitable and not exploitative. Meanwhile others make millions off of our labor.