Who (What) Is Your King?

Are you willing to shoot the nose off of your Pharaoh?

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Marvel Studios

For the 100th time since its release, I’ve watched Black Panther. Easily one of my favorite movies of all time, it is now my bored-on-Saturday-afternoon or Saturday-wash-day movie. I know this film by heart, from the script to the cinematography and all the laughs in between. Even though I started off on the #KillmongerWasRight bandwagon, I find myself rooting for Nakia. Her character remained nuanced yet diplomatic in the time when her nation experienced extreme chaos. There would be no “I never yielded!” from T’Challa without her. She saved Wakanda.

But what really fascinates me about this film is the concept of kings. Yes, the most iconic line in the film besides “Heyyyy, Auntie”, performed by Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, is “Is this your king?!”. Killmonger, exercising his right to challenge for the throne as a descendant of the same royal bloodline as T’Challa, decides to deliver a beatdown of epic proportions, hoping to avenge the death of this father at the hands of T’Challa’s father (no need for spoiler alerts, sorry.) He’s successful, leveling blows to body of the king, who after watching the death of his mentor Zuri, is depleted. T’Challa, unlike a king, has nothing left and Killmonger pounces, reminding onlookers that no king would suffer a defeat like this. Throwing a lifeless T’Challa’s body over a cliff, Killmonger declares that he is indeed now the King of Wakanda. His tyranny is locked and loaded. The revolution — or revolt — has begun.

We — like a people of Wakanda — have high expectations for kings. Kings are supposed to protect and lead us. They are a symbol of status, might and strength. Their presence is enough to detract others from trying to harm the king’s people. He is the people’s champion. Doesn’t mean he’s perfect. As long as you and yours are good, your King does well.

We don’t expect for our kings to be thrown off a cliff in defeat. Maybe your kings but not our kings.

But they are in the most literal — and metaphorical — ways you can imagine. They are indeed human.

Kings can be tyrannical, rule with bloodlust. Possess deep disregard for people who he deems unfit. Kings are drunk with power, thinking they can never be ruled themselves.

Khan. Ferdinand I. Henry VIII. David, king of Israel. The humbling was real.

But kings don’t come only in the form of people. They can also be things.

Objects, services, sights, sounds, voices, vices, places, spaces. These things can rule us. They can set precedent and have providence over your life. You can’t function without them, they fight your battles for you even if they are imaginary. They reassure you in battle even though you’ve already lost the war by depending on them in the first place.

We all have a “king” in our lives. We all have the one thing that overpowers and reigns over us in the most terrorist ways. But there’s light at the end of this tunnel.

To me, the most humbling experience is knowing that what you chose to be the “king” of your life needs to be dethroned. That you need a Killmonger to eradicate. That what ruled and governed you is unhealthy. That you need to break from the tyranny of bad decisions and even worse people. That a coup is necessary. Folks need to breathe.

“This will be the behavior of the king that will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horseman, and some will run before his chariots.” 1 Samuel 8:11

So who — or what — is chasing you?

This is my attempt to write every day for the month of July. Follow me on Medium using the #wedj2018 or on Twitter (@crjwrites).

Memoirist in spirit and in truth. Christian essayist when both the spirit and truth move me. email: crjtwrites[at]gmail.com

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