*The blockbuster hit “Black Panther” was one of the highest-grossing movies in Marvel Studio’s history, earning a whopping 1.3 billion dollars in the box office, according to BoxOfficemojo.com. The movie has been a considerable source of pride in the African American community, and some experts have signaled the film as a beacon of opportunity for more Black producers and directors in film.
However, several of the large movie studios and conglomerates in Hollywood have been notorious in recent history for lifting scripts, without giving credit to authors for their creative and intellectual properties. It’s almost standard fare for the film and music industries. With the foregoing in mind, the question on the table is … is the blockbuster hit “Black Panther,” produced by Marvel Studios, one of the biggest movie studios in the world, guilty of stealing the script from an existing African tribe? Saint Michael of the Gikuyu Nation of Africa, an ambassador of Mt. Kenya, says an emphatic yes.
Michael, an Ambassador of the Gikuyu Tribe and Gikuyu Civilization (www.yamumbi.com), maintains that Marvel Studios engaged in “criminal conduct,” and “illegally appropriated the idea of Black Panther from the tribe in Africa.” In a statement issued on blackpantherlawsuit.com, a site that is “not a lawsuit site,” but a “criminal report” site, according to Michael, they maintain that Marvel/Disney Studios “indoctrinated the public for 53 years to believe that Wakanda was 100% fictitious, but now there is proof registered for with the federal government that the fundamental building blocks of the story belong to Mt. Kenya.”
“The similarity that connected the two (Mt. Kenya and Black Panther) was actually observed in the Black Panther movie,” said Saint Michael, “when you see him drinking the extract from the sacred herb.”
Michael, who is a producer and songwriter, was involved in making hits for several recording artists. He decided to diversify and enter the commodities industry in Africa. While there, in 2015, he began an association with the Botswana tribes, which led to his associations to the Gikuyu Nation of Mt. Kenya. He learned their traditions and their history, including tribal secrets protected by ancient norms and family traditions. In March, 2016, he received an appointment letter from Samuel Kamitha, Chief Messenger, Voice, and Custodian of the Gikuyu Nation, who was trained from the College of Seers, an ancient tribal tribunal which consists of elders designated to protect the sacred traditions and wisdom of the tribes. Michael later became one of the elders … an ambassador entitled to speak on the tribe’s traditions, customs and affairs. And now he’s using his voice to protest a wrong- the unauthorized use of their traditions in a mass-produced movie.
At issue- a conflict of interest, at least. According to Michael, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, creators of the Black Panther character for the Marvel comic book series, worked for the military and had access to the tribe’s ancient secrets, the genesis of their action against Marvel Studios.
“Through the colonial period (of the Gikuyu Nation) the information leaked into Jack Kirby’s hand, and Jack Kirby turned around and misappropriated it, through creations that were in the Black Panther comic, which became the Black Panther movie,” said Michael. “When that type of expressive conduct that is displayed there in that issue (the comic book explanation of the beginnings of Black Panther), when that is corroborated by material evidence, such as the source work found on www.yamumbi.com, it qualifies as a statement against interests, an incriminating statement, so it’s admissible in court,” said Saint Michael. “It establishes motive and intent of Jack Kirby to give credit to the Jiru people.”
When Michael, who was trained in the ancient customs of the Gikuyu Nation screened “Black Panther,” he was stunned.
“It was blatant, it’s an obvious thing,” said Michael, who noted the similarities of Mt. Kenya and Black Panther immediately. ”When the movie first came on, the very first thing you observe in the Black Panther movie is the story of Mt. Kenya. The very first thing I see is exactly what I’ve been teaching people for two years prior to that.”
At press time, the attorneys for the Gikuyu tribe maintain that Marvel/Disney “has their hands caught in the cookie jar,” and that action, starting with government charges of wrongdoing is part of the remedies the Gikuyu Nation are seeking.
Calls and e-mails to attorneys of Marvel Studios and Disney were not returned as of press time.
For more information regarding the action, visit www.blackpantherlawsuit.com.
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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