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Can I take my kid to Black Panther? A Parents’ Guide

A Parents Guide to Black Panther

Black Panther: The Movie America Needs

The expectations for Marvel’s Black Panther film are high. The Black Panther comics have frequently touched on race relations, he fought the KKK in the mid-seventies, and the never-colonized Wakanda is seen as an allegory for real-world Ethiopia. The current run of the comics by journalist (The Atlantic, Time, The Village Voice) and best-selling author (Between the World and Me, We Were Eight Years in Power) Ta’ Nehisi Coates is highly acclaimed, and many have made comparisons of Coates’ T’Challa to Barack Obama. Lack of representation and whitewashing are finally becoming part of our public discourse, and our current political climate is not one that is friendly to black people (frankly, America, in general, is not friendly to black people). So in this world we’re in, how would Marvel – a company known for feel-good superhero romps, deal with a character that has been pretty political – he is the leader of a nation, after all – since his debut?

I think they did it really well. (The huge disclaimer here is that these are the opinions of a white lady.) Much of the film’s conflict revolves around how black people around the world are subjugated, denied resources, and kept down by their governments. The filmmakers did not shy away from calling out colonialism, the war on drugs, and other crimes committed against black populations. In Wakanda, the residents literally have to hide their culture to protect themselves. I imagine this is something that modern people of color feel that they have to do to be successful in a society that is dominated by white people and is frequently hostile to outward expressions of blackness.

In Black Panther, like in real-life America, Black Women Save the Day

via GIPHY

My favorite part of this movie is that Black Panther doesn’t conquer any of the conflicts in the movie alone. He relies heavily on the women of Wakanda. The Dora Milaje, the King of Wakanda/Black Panther’s Royal Guards have been part of the mythos of Black Panther for the past twenty years. In the comics, they are Wakandas best women, chosen to be potential Queens for the King, and also to serve as highly trained guards. In the Black Panther movie, we don’t get a lot of background on who the Dora Milaje are, or what their history is – but what we do get is some serious ass-kicking by head guard Okoye. Okoye, like all of the female leads, saves the day more than Black Panther actually does. T’Challa’s sister, Shuri is a super-genius-Tony-Stark-like inventor who uses the Vibranuium that is so plentiful on Wakanda to create everything from a Mag-Lev transportation system to Black Panther’s suit.  T’Challa’s former girlfriend Nakia is a Wakandian spy and forward-thinker who wants to push Wakanda onto the world stage so that it might use its plentiful resources to help refugees. Finally, Ramonda, Queen of Wakanda, T’Challa and Shiri’s mother navigates the space between grieving her fallen husband and advising/protecting her newly crowned son. This is an overtly feminist film, and I was so into it.

White Parents, This is Your Teachable Moment.

White parents: There’s a lot here to talk about socially with younger kids. If you are willing to have these conversations (and you should) by all means take them to see Black Panther. They will see a world where people of color are inventors, negotiators, loving family members, queens, and heroes, and that’s something all white kids need to be exposed to more of.

Things all parents will want to talk about include themes of integrity, of taking responsibility for your mistakes, loyalty, and choosing to do what’s right over what’s expected.

So, Can I Bring my Kid to See Black Panther?

The bad guys in Black Panther use guns – the real-life kind, not cartoony laser weapons. People get shot, sometimes in cold blood. There are bullet wounds. There is hand-to-hand combat during a large-scale fight. Characters we have come to care for die. A character chooses to die rather than be jailed.

So at what age can your kid see Black Panther?  I think that if they have seen the other Marvel Movies, they’ll be fine. The motives of the bad guys are a little less clear-cut (they are even sympathetic sometimes), but this plot point could be the jumping off point for a good age-appropriate conversation about social justice.  If you really need a hard-age limit, a mature 10 years old is probably about right.


Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, and Angela Bassett. It is rated PG-13 and is in theatres now.

This is not a political blog.

Which side of history do you want to be on?

“This is not a political blog.”

I have heard this statement from several of my fellow bloggers over the past few days.

“I blog about fashion/food/parenting. I shouldn’t be expected to make a statement about racism.”

Several of those bloggers have even posted these statements on Social Media with the addition of “I will delete negative comments. I don’t want the drama.”

The drama is here whether you want it or not.

This drama isn’t about formula feeding vs. breast feeding, your Paleo diet, or plus-sized fashion.

This drama is about white supremacy. Nazis. Racism. This drama is real, and lives are at stake.

Being able to ignore this drama is the ultimate form of white privilege. We can ignore it and go on living our lives, bolstered by the white supremacy that is literally killing our black neighbors.

Yes, you have an obligation to stand up against it. I don’t care if you blog exclusively about Disney Princesses. If you are white, and you have a platform, you absolutely must use it to denounce this.

White bloggers, you have a unique opportunity to let your readers in middle America know this is NOT OKAY. To let the mom who hasn’t had time to watch the news know this happening and it is NOT OKAY. To let your family know that it is NOT OKAY. 

Many bloggers have huge social media followings. Use it. Amplify black voices. Retweet those pictures of the Nazis. If you lose a few followers, who cares? They were Nazi-sympathizers. “50k Twitter followers, including white supremacists” doesn’t look great in your media kit anyway.

You have a soapbox, if you aren’t going to use it to stand up against Nazis, what are you going to use it for?

Do the right thing.

 

“If you stand for nothing…what will you fall for”

From Hamilton: An American Musical

Is Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA good for kids?

Update (4/25/17):  Add the jaw-dropping touch of Cirque du Soleil to Mother’s Day this year with LUZIA, a waking dream of Mexico. For a limited time only, tickets in price levels 1,2 & 3 are 20% off for selected Seattle performances of LUZIA scheduled through May 21st under the Big Top at King County’s Marymoor Park. For more information about this offer, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/usa/seattle/deals. Regular tickets for all Seattle performances of LUZIA are available online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia.

 

Sick of this Seattle Rain? Dreaming of the colors, sounds, and beasts of Mexico? You don’t have to go any further than Redmond’s Marymoor Park, where the creative geniuses at Cirque du Soleil have dreamed up an interpretation of Mexico like you’ve never seen before!

The title of this Cirque Show – “Luzia” – is a portmanteau of the Spanish words for light (“luz”) and rain (“illuvia”). Both light and rain are big themes in the show, with a giant omnipresent, medallion-shaped set piece that changes color, and a water feature that emulates rain showers and is used extensively to breathtaking effect. There are over 90 thousand tiny holes on the stage to drain the water, but the setup still requires some in-between acts shenanigans to clean and dry the stage.

My companion and I were torn on the goofy clown that performed between acts and helped create a (somewhat) cohesive narrative. I thought he was funny and charming, she felt the show would have been just fine without him. I think kids will love his ridiculous antics. From his introduction in the opening minutes in a skydiving bit to his silly interactions with the crowd using only a lifeguard’s whistle, his European style (no makeup!) of clowning is delightful!

Soccer as a circus art! Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

Clowning aside, hand-balancers, hoop riders, giant puppets, trapeze and adagio artists are the main thrill here, but the supporting performers dressed as armadillos and cockroaches that are peppered throughout the acts are sure to be a huge hit with kids. There are also talented jugglers, crazy soccer-ball tricks, and an unbelievable contortionist.  Luzia has something for everyone.

A highlight for me was seeing Seattle-native Kelly MacDonald perform. You could feel the local love for MacDonald, who performs as the flier in a type of acrobatic art called “Adagio”. Hearing the crowd cheer for MacDonald as the Adagio porters threw and caught her, balanced her, and even used her as a human jump rope was delightful, and the Adagio act is one of the most captivating in the show.

Cirque performer and Seattle-Native Kelly McDonald in the Adagio Routine. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

I highly recommend Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia for any kids who are able to sit still and quiet for its two hour and 25 minute running time. There is a 25 minute intermission halfway through, but be forewarned, we spent almost that whole time waiting in line for the bathrooms, which are in trailers (but are clean, well lit, and much better than the standard porta-potty – they flush!).

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia runs now through May 21st at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. Tickets are available HERE.