Black Panther was epic, and there are so many ways to unpack its many meanings. Unfortunately, we can’t cover them all so we’ll stick to what we know: relationships. Here are five tips that will help take your relationship to the next level.
Spoiler alert: There are details discussed in this article that may ruin the movie experience for you. If you haven’t already seen it, don’t read any further.
If you haven’t already seen Marvel’s newest superhero movie Black Panther, I advise you to jump out of your chair right now and race to the theater. There are so many great things to say about the movie. They have had a record breaking two weeks, grossing over $700 million. They showed Hollywood that an all black cast can do well overseas. They have given little black and brown children another role model to aspire to be. And, my personal favorite, they have taught us a few things about relationships. Here are the top 5 relationships tips that we can take away from Black Panther:
1. T’Challa and Nakia: Know who you are and do not compromise that for anyone.
Nakia knew and accepted herself so fiercely that she was able to give up her and T’Challa’s relationship. She knew she wanted to help people, and that staying in Wakanda wasn’t going to make that possible. How well do you know yourself? Whether you’re in a relationship or not, do you set aside some ‘alone time’ to reflect on your life? This is so important, and if possible, should be done while you’re single. When you understand yourself and know what you stand for, no one will be able to convince you to do things you don’t want to do, and you won’t feel obligated to say things you don’t feel. Otherwise, you might end up in a relationship like the one between Killmonger and Linda (played by Nabiyah Be). She was smart and tech savvy yes, but she was also chasing Killmonger around committing heinous crimes with him. She allowed herself to be manipulated and deluded into thinking he cared about her. When, in actuality, he only cared about himself. Trust me. You do NOT want to be her.
2. Okeye and W’Kabi: Be yourself and have tough conversations early in the relationship.
After being named king of Wakanda, Killmonger holds a council meeting in the palace. He wants to send weapons all over the world to Wakandan spies so they can destabilize and ultimately take over every nation. Okeye immediately speaks up and expresses her concerns with Killmonger’s plans. “It’s not our way.” W’Kabi interjects, and she gladly allows him to do so, thinking that he will support her. However, we all saw the look of surprise on her face when W’Kabi shows his support for Killmonger’s plans and even gets the elders on board. It’s as if he was a different person than who Okeye came to love. How did they get to this point? Let’s jump to another scene to help explain. Remember when T’Challa was visiting the Wakandan Border Tribe led by W’Kabi. T’Challa is looking for advice from a friend about whether Wakanda should open its doors and allow refugees to enter. “If you allow the refugees in, they’ll bring their problems with them,” W’Kabi answers. He would rather go out and forcefully overthrow governments before allowing any refugees into Wakanda. Surely, we weren’t surprised when he sided with Killmonger. Obviously, there were some conversations he and Okeye forgot to have. This is another reason it is so important to be yourself when you’re in a relationship with someone. Secret and flaws always come to light sooner or later. Better it happens when the relationship is just beginning, rather than 5-10 years later when you’re married and have kids.
3. Okeye and W’Kabi: Conflict doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship.
If Okeye can literally fight against her husband in battle and still love him, YOU and your boo can certainly have an argument and make it through. Now, we don’t know exactly what happens with their relationship after the battle or to W’Kabi for that matter. But I like to think they forgive each other, because that really is the Wakandan way. Notice how quickly T’Challa forgave Killmonger and leaped at the chance to heal him. Or how M’Baku did not hold the disrespect of previous kings against T’Challa when he needed the Jabari’s help most. Forgiveness runs deep through the vibranium-filled air, and it should run just as deep --if not more-- in your relationship.
4. T’Challa and Nakia: Rekindling old flames
There is a wrong and a right way to rekindle old flames. T’Challa and Nakia had broken up years before because Nakia couldn’t stand by and watch as innocent black people --their people--suffered all over the world. T’Challa was committed to upholding the old ways in which Wakanda keeps to themselves. If you notice, it wasn’t until Nakia had seen a real change in him, that their relationship was rekindled. T’Challa was finally ready to stop hiding Wakanda from the rest of the world. If you run into an old ex, and you find yourselves talking about old times, make sure you remember why things ended. Wait and watch him/her. Has he/she truly changed? Are his/her actions different than before? Why will this time be different? If you can’t confidently and positively answer these questions, reconsider sparking that romance a second time.
5. Okeye and W’Kabi: When you realize you’re wrong, own up to it.
Let’s skip to the end of the fight scene. Okeye is face-to-face with W’Kabi, and she is more than ready to fight. W’Kabi asks her, “Would you really kill me, my love?” Before she answers, she gets into fight mode, pointing her spear in W’Kabi’s face. “For Wakanda, without question.” What follows is even more amazing. W’Kabi looks around at the destruction his actions have caused. He sees how he has played a role in Wakanda’s division. Ashamed of what he has done, he throws his weapon down and drops to his knees. He has surrendered to Okeye. We know what surrender looks like in a war, but can we point it out in a relationship? To surrender literally means “to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.” In a relationship, there are many ways to surrender oneself. Allow yourselves to be vulnerable with each other. Trust each other. And if you said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing, own up to it. When W’Kabi surrendered, you didn’t hear him start making excuses or blaming his actions on his past.
Did we miss anything? Comment below and let us know what you think.
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Photo credits: Entertainment Weekly