Marvel once co-produced a cartoon, about the African superhero Black Panther, with the Black Entertainment Television [BET]. The cartoon gives us a sort of preview of what we should expect from the movie.
Reginald Hudlin is credited as the shows writer and executive producer. He has a made a career as a writer and director for black media, including “The Great White Hype” which denigrates white athletes.
Episode one starts with a white American general, voiced by Marvel Comics frontman Stan Lee, calling the fictional African nation of Wakanda “savages.” A black woman then yells at him to “shut up.” This initial exchange seems to set the tone for the entire series. White people bad, black people good. Another white man goes on to explains how the Wakanda are a technologically advanced nation, with “green” energy sources, that has never been conquered.
The army general declares that a black ops team could subdue the Wakanda. Then a segment is shown of the Black Panther easily defeating a clumsy white Captain America in 1941. Black Panther explains that he is a morally superior to the white Captain America and that Captain America must learn to be more like him.
It is easy to see that the show has extremely strong anti-white undertones. At the same time glorifying Sub-Saharan Africans with a fictional nation of which nothing like it actually exists in real life. I must admit that I was shocked when I watched this on youtube. I expected it to be pro-black, but it was far more anti-white than I ever expected.
In episode two, we are introduced to Black Panther’s main enemy. He is white, of course. He is shown recruiting other villains, who are also white. In a separate storyline, white South Africans are shown attempting to infiltrate Wakanda. When their black laborers refuse to enter Wakanda territory, they are murdered by the whites. The leader of the whites laughs as a black man is shown dying in slow motion. In the next scene, he refers to black people as “monkeys.” We learn in this episode that Wakanda has cured cancer and invented the most advanced technology in the world.
What makes this even more bizarre is that it first aired on ABC3, a children’s network in Australia targeting viewers aged 6-15. Australia is less than one-tenth of 1% black. They obviously intended for white children in Australia to watch this. I am happy to report that it was not successful on ABC3 and was canceled after the first season. In the US, the episodes were released through a variety of online mediums such as iTunes, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network. Season 1 was finally aired on BET starting in January 2011.