‘Black Panther’ & Me

I never was into comics as a kid. I worshiped the Power Rangers and dabbled in Batman: The Animated Series. I remember singing Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” during Batman Forever, and leaving church early to see Spider-Man 2. 

I was the casual geek playing Magic: The Gathering at lunch, but never venturing into Dungeons & Dragons. (Although I did view the awful adaptation in middle school). But I never fully invested in that world. Partially because I didn’t think it belonged to me.

I never saw anyone like me enjoying those things. And the sad part is I never noticed it. I assumed it was what whites did – and if one was black and read anime – you were weird. I didn’t need another moniker added to my name as the chubby Oreo in the all-white Boy Scout troop who secretly crushed on elder members.

So as Ryan Coogler’s story of T’Challa unfolded, with it’s pristine depiction of African royalty in Wakanda, I sat numb in awe. Yes, I may not have known this Black Panther existed before the Black Panther Party. Or that he was basically Marvel’s Batman. But I felt justified. Someone opened the door and said “come on in, we’ve been waiting for you.”

502107: 25-21

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

25. “Attitude” Leikeli47

One of the joys of having more representation on TV is we’re exposed to more cultural things we may not otherwise. Thanks to Insecure I was reacquainted with Leikeli47 just in time to cop her album Wash & Set. “Attitude” is half hip-hop, half ballroom culture: 100% blackness.

24. “Lavender (NIghtfall Remix) Badbadnotgood & Kaytranada ft. Snoop Dogg

This hipster jazz outfit had an otherworldly tune when they recruited Kaytranada for the original mix. But once they added Snoop’s #BlackLivesMatter rhetoric, it became a hauntingly powerful ode to 2017’s struggle.

23. “Sorry Not Sorry” Demi Lovato

Demi followed-up her breakout Confident with the much more focused Tell Me You Love Me. The album herald this larger than life single –  a pop, gospel-fused anthem of shoulda, coudla woulda to the ex.

22. “Hood Go Bang” Wu-Tang Clan ft. Method Man & Redman

The Wu released an album to makeup for that fiasco with the pharmaceutical scammer. With the shortest track on the album – and this list – Meth and Red remind us of why the 90s remains a pristinely untouchable era of hip-hop. Prepare to rewind this 1:32 of boom bap glory.

21. “Careless” Daley ft. Chiiild

I saw Daley live this year, and he mentioned The Spectrum was an array of his musical influences. He wanted to capture all these sounds to stem off from being boxed into doing a certain type of genre. He finds himself at home effortlessly on the dance track reminiscent of 1990s house&B.

502017: 40-36

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

40. “Want You Back” Haim

This pleasurable bop felt nostalgic as shit. Pressing play directed me back to 1990 as Wilson Phillips blended harmonies ocean side. Very few make them like this anymore. Haim did THAT.

39. “Slide” Calvin Harris ft. Frank Ocean & Migos

I did not understand this collaboration. I don’t even care for Calvin Harris’ black moniker stealing ass. But Frank’s melody atop those stutter claps is irresistible. I can’t help but do a generic MJ two-step when it comes on.

38. “S.O.S.” Kelela

I waited for the proper return of R&B’s mysterious, genre-bending maven. While I loved her entire Take Me Apart, I was drawn to the album’s shortest track. Like the songs of \ Sirens, Kelela beckons for her lover. And just as you get settled, it’s over.

37. “Lonely” Demi Lovato ft. Lil Wayne

Ever since Demi ditched the Disney crowd she’s been trailblazing her own path as a Pop&B artist. Her latest Tell Me You Love Me steams with hearty choir-assisted bops, sexy ballads and Drake-ish breakups. While I’m not sure why she enlisted Dwayne Carter, the one is Instagram caption approved.

36. “Work It Out” Karizma

I remember listening to the sample every morning via The Russ Par Morning Show. The way Google lifted the dance remix for it’s Chromebook rubbed some the wrong way. But I am slain in the spirit every time I hear it.