Ok, so today I want to rant a little bit about the Black Panther movie. Yes, yes, I’m aware that on the face of it, there appear to be several issues with that opening statement – first of all, the Black Panther movie is like the patron saint of moviedom – unimpeachable, unassailable, virtually immune to any and all forms of criticism, so I can already hear the twittering masses telling me to please pocket my rant. Secondly, “aren’t you a little late to the Black Panther review party, hmm? Thirdly, isn’t this supposed to be a food blog?
I freely and wholeheartedly concede all three points above, but please stay with me for a moment. I promise I’m going somewhere with this. Before we proceed further, let me categorically state that I absolutely loved the Black Panther movie. I saw it twice, and I was on track to see it a third time when my plans were derailed by a tyre blowout that was surely the handiwork of my enemies – but that is a story for another day (and perhaps another blog!)
Back to the matter – so yes, big fan of the movie. I thought it was a visually-arresting ode to all that is noble and beautiful about our great African culture. Which brings me directly to my rant – how come there was no food in this movie???? How could the producers go to such great lengths to capture and showcase our wonderful continent in all its glory and then leave out the one element that brings all Africans to the table, literally and metaphorically speaking?
Take for example, the scene of T’Challa’s coronation. We see our gallant prince ascend the throne of his fathers after successfully fighting off Mbaku, his worthy contender. It was an epic fight, and T’Challa’s eventual victory was rightly followed by a magnificent celebration. Lots of dancing and singing, but please, where were the platters of steaming hot jollof rice with tantalizingly- flavoured beef stew? The perfect mounds of fufu accompanied by vegetable soup with assorted meat? The trays heaped with fried chicken spiced so robustly that the aroma starts tickling your senses from half a mile away?
Any African worth his/her salt (pun intended!) knows that there is no meaningful gathering of our people that does not involve food, glorious food. Africans do not need an excuse to feast – sometimes, we cook up a feast simply to celebrate the success of a previous feast! Food is central to who we are and what we do; it is an integral part of our life as Africans. It is an amalgamating force across the entire continent – we Africans may not agree on everything, but on the matter of food we are united. Well, except when it comes to the debate on who makes the best jollof rice. The self-evident answer to that question is, of course, Nigeria, but please don’t tell our Ghanaian brethren that! Chale!!
E.R. Platters for 5 Platters