How ‘Black Panther’ Gave Me Strength Before Having A Kidney Transplant
Before I, @KevitoClark, go under-the-knife for kidney transplant surgery, I wanted to share my thoughts on how Black Panther prepared me for a life-changing event.
Yes, the Black Panther hype is real and totally worth it.
Yours truly was a part of a select few who saw Marvel Studios’ Black Panther before its global release of Feb. 16. It was everything and then some. I shed #thugtears, jumped up and out of my skin, yelled at the screen, hi-fived my fellow Wakandans and overall had a spiritual experience under the guise of watching a superhero film.
The timing of seeing that film couldn’t be any better as today, Jan. 31, I will be undergoing kidney transplant surgery. I’ve made no secret about my need for this, but now I am coming to grips with just how this act of selflessness will change my life for the better. For the last two weeks since getting the news that my close friend and brother, Anslem Samuel, will put life and body on the line to help me — I’ve been a mixed bag of emotions.
How do you thank the person for helping you to go on living? What do you do when you’re no longer tied up to a machine every night? Is it wrong to be fearful? What does the future even hold for me?
I have had so much time to mull it over, but the way my life is currently set up there were no ticks on the tock to really decipher it and break it down. Thank God (Bast?) for Ryan Coogler and his creative cohorts. Monday’s screening of Black Panther changed my life right as my life was about to change. Without spoiling the movie for you, seeing these beautiful, black, strong, smart, steadfast, supportive and dynamic characters on screen charged my chakras like no movie before. One plot thread that I sincerely identified with dealt with the lost of T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka.
(Not a spoiler, please watch Captain America: Civil War)
The fear I spoke about earlier not only dealt with the idea of being knocked out and cut open but the idea that something could go wrong. A million dreadful ideas have crossed my third eye in the weeks that have gone by, but one keeps reoccurring—seeing myself on the other side and being alone. The family I have here would not be able to join me. The family I was born with wasn’t close to me. So, would there be anyone to welcome me to the astral plane? I would have dreams about it — both while sleeping and awake — hoping that the 92 percent success rate for kidney transplants wasn’t an inflated number.
When T’Challa’s father was murdered in Captain America: Civil War, he was debilitated by the act, but not destroyed. In Black Panther, he is resolute to be a strong king but unable to shake the loss of his father. For me, I took that as nothing is guaranteed in life, but I move in faith even in the face of death. So, when I saw T’Challa walking the astral plane of his ancestors (not a spoiler, it’s in the trailer) and the exchange that happened there, it gave me the strength of a mustard seed with the ferocity and grace of a Black Panther.
Even now, I am electrified with the boldness, the beauty, the style and substance of Marvel’s Black Panther. I am no longer fearful of what’s to come, but joyously embracing of what’s here now and sincerely ready for the future. If I could say anything to the primetime players behind this exceptional movie it would be this: Thank you for this exhilarating piece of art that has changed my life — both spiritually and physically — and I am lucky to be alive to witness real black heroes.
Keep up with the latest and greatest from your favorite neighborhood managing editor by following @KevitoClark on Twitter.