Nothing leaves white folks shook quite like Black excellence. Especially, the kind that dismantles the myth of white supremacy. Lately, we’ve witnessed this happening in Hollywood on a scale nobody saw coming. Well, nobody except Black folks. We’re talking about Black Panther‘s total and complete domination at the box office: five weeks and counting at number one (the first film to do so since Avatar), highest grossing Marvel film of all time (even beating the cult favorite The Dark Knight) and, now, most-tweeted film in history.
All of this has lead to one white male reporter from Forbes—who, we are certain, echoes the fears of many, many other white men—declaring that Black Panther is “Hollywood’s Worst Nightmare.” The opinion piece, penned by Scott Mendelson, is packed with dog whistles and coded language. For example, Mendelson says Black Panther‘s box office success “comes at the expense” of other “would-be” event movies — just one paragraph after naming all the other films that have achieved the five-week streak. Don’t be shocked when we tell you that every single one of those 25 other films are lead by white casts. Every. Last. One. Yet, the success of Black Panther is what he calls “the terrifying part” for competition in Hollywood “and the industry as a whole.”
He continues that “this is different” than when, for example, Titanic stayed at the top of the box office for a full third of the calendar year. “This is an entire pre-summer slate of would-be event movies getting steamrolled by one very big tentpole.” He then puts on his “Make Hollywood Great Again” hat and ticks off all the films that crushed the box office last year around this time: “Logan (an $88 million debut weekend), Skull Island ($61m), Beauty and the Beast ($174m), Power Rangers ($40m) and The Boss Baby ($49m).” With the exception of the slightly-more-inclusive Skull Island, are you seeing a pattern here?
He concludes: “The winning Black Panther serves as a consensus pick for every demographic. The Ryan Coogler-directed MCU action drama, its obvious value as a conventional wisdom-crushing crowdpleaser (and possible Oscar-contender) notwithstanding, represents the worst nightmare of an entire industry now dedicated to a near-weekly stream of glorified event movies.” In other words: “those Black folks and that Black movie are taking your jobs, white Hollywood. #MAGA.”
Black Twitter, meanwhile…
After that thorough lashing from Twitter, Mendelson posted a version of the standard “I don’t see color” response for everyone to see:
Nice try, bro.