Anticipating the massive success of Marvel’s Black Panther, many people around the country started planning dope events and movements for its debut. Through my cousin Samantha who was at the time, the co-founder of the Black cultural and events organization Party Blackly, Kheperah and I had the opportunity of being among the organizers of one of the largest premiers of the movie in New York. Hosted at the Battery Park Regal cinemas next to the luxurious Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan, our event debuted the movie to over 700 beautiful black and brown people ready to take a trip to Wakanda, and dressed in the dopest fits for the journey. We knew we had to come through dripping ourselves so we decided to make some new merch to rock at the event. They say you gotta dress how you feel, and I think my brother would agree with me that it felt powerful-asl rocking that Wakanda State of Mind.
We made the The Wakanda State of Mind as a collaboration between The Dozens and Dev Jam Labs, a Black technology development studio started by Kheperah and I in New York. The WSOM series is a nod to the creative potential that Wakanda has (had) in catalyzing a social movement in Black empowerment in technology, arts and media. The very idea of Wakanda, or any advanced Black technological society, intrinsically centers Black people in positions of power, independent and autonomous in ways that bluntly challenge the heteronormative/colonizer mindset of us as lackin' or deficient. Having a dope Black hero who is equipped with the illest technology, some of the freshest threads, and empowered by a squad of badass Black women, is just the icing on the cake. The fact is that being a member of the powerful society of Wakanda means that you are apart of a larger collective with a shared mindset of dignity, stature, and power. Being a part of Wakanda allows even the meekest of people from that “country" to be seen with the same admiration as the hero himself. Being capable of changing our paradigm to see ourselves within this manner of power is exactly what it means to have a Wakanda State of Mind.
Wakanda can be a reality if we only understand ourselves as the people responsible for its creation. We have the power to challenge any limiting notion about ourselves, and create a radically new reality for our community. Having a Wakanda State of Mind means that you are presently viewing yourself as a powerful member of a community responsible for architecting a future reality of Black political/creative emancipation and functional self-governance. Through the cultivation of our own sources of knowledge, cultural-innovation, and capital we can create Wakanda. It starts within the mind and becomes real through our actions. First things first, we have to accept our power.