My Super Bowl Sunday was a gumbo of ironies.
This is how it would go:
- I would spend the afternoon at the Apollo for a screening of a new movie The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution.
- At night, we would watch Cam Newton lead the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 over the war ready Denver Broncos.
- Yes, it was the 50th Super Bowl and it was also the 50th year that the Black Panther Party For Self Defense was founded. We now know my idyllic night was not meant to be.
The Apollo was a moving moment. It was a full house. There were official Black Panthers in the audience and later, others would take the stage on a moving panel discussion anchored by the film. Hey, there were even some fake Panthers that were quickly vetted and exposed. It was greatness. The energy was electric and celebratory as well.
And then the movie started.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution is incredible. It is also sad. The documentary really chronicles the illegal murder, persecution and annihilation of a community pillar. Most people forget “For Self Defense” off the party’s name, because it simply does not bode well with the narrative we have been fed over the years. The movement begins with the formation of the party with Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton to the remarkable growth internationally. It was an incredible rise and response to the oppressive and systemically racist times. I was filled with rage after seeing how they dismantled the Panthers, largely through illegal tactics, lies, deception, hatred and even straight up murder as was the case with Fred Hampton. Tears. Anger. Applause.
And then the game started. Everything seemingly and symbolically went downhill from there…