The Caribbean is seen as this place of paradise for visitors to come and frolic for a period of time and then return to their lives. The truth is that many people that live on these islands have never experienced the tourist attractions for the islands they live on. Underneath all the sunny days and rolling seas lies everyday people with thriving cultures built on independence from colonialism. The underlying social impact is slowly rising to the surface with the rise of mental health problems in the Caribbean.
Photo courtesy of Keyanvibe.com
The Ryan Coogler film, Black Panther, has been breaking records and making waves in the media. A Marvel Entertainment big budget superhero movie that is set squarely in the Marvel cinematic universe (Black Panther is an Avenger) but has become a movement all its own. As a movie buff and a big superhero fan, the excitement and anticipation for that movie was so inspiring to watch, and just plain fun to be a part of.
The movie sports an almost all black cast, with strong individual characters, and clearly depicts the African continent in all its glory. The movie covers so many different themes from self-identity, power, family, betrayal, forgiveness, tradition, modernism, futurism, politics, and so much more. I saw the movie a few times during opening weekend in different locations and it was interesting to observe the various audience reactions to the movies. In the urban and mixed areas, the reactions to the movies were relaxed, engaging, and responsive throughout the movie. In the suburban area, the audience was reserved and quiet, barely laughing at the jokes.
Photo by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash
“When did you accept your black self? When did you add your blackness into your self-identity?
When did you first acknowledge it? When did you begin to like being a black woman/man?”
I did not always like the fact that I was black. For many of us, accepting our blackness comes with a lot of history and responsibilities? Though, you may not be aware of it, at some point, you had to go through a self-acceptance process to make sense of who you are. I wonder how many people are walking around in their lives and have not experienced this process?
I like the Instagram account of Mental Minute Project (@Mentalminuteproject) who showcases videos about people who are living with mental illnesses. I have noticed that there are a few minorities on the page who have shared their stories, and I wondered why there weren’t more videos from minorities. I am so thankful for those who were brave enough to share their stories. We need more conversations like these within our communities. Thank you to MMP for providing the platform for others to share their stories.
As we prepare for February, the start of Black History Month, I would like us to not only focus and celebrate on those in our community that have come before and paved the way and made monumental changes to our world and culture, but to pay tribute to them and their legacies, by considering how we can add to their legacies, create our own legacies, and build a life that is fulfilling for us and worthy of the sacrifices made for us.
Our history have shown that there is power in us. There is power in our blood, our skin, and our race. But oftentimes, we mistake having power and showing power as the absence of any weakness. This is simply not true. There is strength in recognizing that we need help; there is strength in asking for help when we need it. If we examine some of the influential figures in our culture and history, we recognize that they did not accomplish the things they set out to do alone. They may have been the face of the particular change they affected, but they had a community behind them. Examples of these figures include, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, whose wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King was also instrumental in the changes that he made to our world, and President Barack Obama, whose wife, Michelle Obama, was also instrumental in the changes he made to our world. In addition to their partners, there were communities of people behind them that helped to affect the visions that they had for our world. Within their strengths, they recognized that they needed aid to carry out their visions.