Ryan Coogler was born on March 23rd, 1986, in Oakland, California.
And coincidentally, Oakland was the same city where the Black revolutionaries who called themselves “The Black Panthers” (Dr. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale), got their start.
Both of Ryan's parents, mother Joselyn, and father, Ira, were graduates of California State University, Hayward. Ryan's mom was a community organizer, while his father, Ira, is a juvenile hall probation counselor. Ryan's parents moved him to Richmond, California in his pre-teens, and there, he excelled in athletics by running track and playing football in grade school. He parlayed his athleticism into a football scholarship with Saint Mary's College of California. While there, one of Ryan's English professors was so impressed with one of his writing assignments, that she suggested he take a course in screenwriting.
After Saint Mary's canceled its football program, Ryan earned a scholarship and transferred to Sacramento State College, to continue his athletic pursuits. And even though he gave a stellar performance as a football player, he made sure to take as many film classes as he could, which eventually led him to attend the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
At USC, Coogler directed four short films: the first of which was a short called, “Locks” (2009), which had a screening at NYC's, “Tribeca Film Festival” and won the “Dana and Albert Brocolli Award for Filmmaking Excellence”. Ryan followed up his first effort with other shorts, “Fig” (2011), “The Sculptor” (2011), and “Gap” (2011).
Two years later, Coogler went on to shoot his first feature-length film, “Fruitvale Station”. The movie's a true story about Oscar Grant, a young Black man who makes plans for New Years Eve of 2008, not knowing how he'll be gunned down by thrill-kill cops at the Fruitvale train station. The movie debuted in 2013 at the “Sundance Film Festival”, and took home its highest honor, the “Grand Jury Prize”. Shortly thereafter, the “Weinstein Company” acquired distribution rights for the film for $2 million dollars. The film went on to make $17 million dollars after its theatrical release, which gave Ryan the film industry cred to make his next movie, “Creed”.
In July of 2013, MGM Studios offered Ryan the Rocky “spin-off”, Creed, to direct. Ryan said he'd already had a passion for the Rocky franchise, cause his father was so enamored with the film series. And behind Ryan's father suffering a neuromuscular disorder, one that would eventually take his life, Ryan thought having a hand in creating one of these movies, would be a fitting homage to his father.
Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that Michael B. Jordan plays Apollo Creed's son, “Adonis” in this flick. And with names like Apollo and Adonis, you can see the blatant veneration of Greek (white) gods in this movie. And this is done not only to reinforce reasons why Black folks should think whites are “god-like”, but to make sure we heed this flick's bottom-lined message, which is: only a white man (“god” of this world), can make a young Black man a winner. Cause Apollo (who represents Black men collectively), wasn't strong enough to do the job.
Creed not only went on to gross hundreds of millions at the box office, but it was universally praised across the board by critics. One of these accolades, came when the film went on to win the “National Board of Review's” Award for the “Best or Top Ten Films of the Year”.
And piggybacking off that success, in January of 2016, Marvel Studios approached Ryan about co-writing and directing the movie, “Black Panther”.
Now, unless you're living under a rock, you're fully aware that this movie is playing at some cineplex near you—but rather than talking about the fictional elements of Ryan's film, I'd like to focus on the realistic and tangible elements associated with the Black Panther—especially in regards to “Wakanda” being the “most technologically advanced” country on earth.
So first off, let's look at the name “Wakanda” itself.
Now, the people that the american social order is calling “native” to this country, i.e. the “american indians”, aren't this country's “indigenous” people—CAUSE WE, BLACK PEOPLE, ARE!
And you don't have to take my word for that. Doing five minutes worth of research, you'll find white scientists who'll confirm that at the beginnings of this world, Black people were the only ones on this earth.
Now, it's noted that one of the first groups of indigenous Black people to inhabit the “americas”, were the “Dogon” tribes. And they're also credited with mapping the world's wind and water currents mainly for the purposes of navigational sailing. Centuries later, Black people under the leadership of the king “Abubikari” in 1311, found their way to the “americas” and mixed with another Black tribe who were already here called the “Olmecs”. Now, the name given to this mixture of indigenous tribes was “Washo”—and coincidentally, one of america's most recognized indigenous Black tribes is called the “Washitaw” Muurs (Moors).
Similarly, ancient Black “Sioux” tribes who made their way to the americas from south america, were known as the “Waka”—or “Wakan” for plural. Additionally, these tribes also used the term “Wakan”, to explain the “unseen” or “mysterious” forces of nature.
And these tribes also used the term “Da”, to define a man's role as a “father”.
So according to our indigenous Black ancestors, if you combine the terms, “Wakan” and “Da”, it translates into: the “great mysterious land of the ancient fathers”.
And that's just for starters fam!
Now, in and of itself, that to me is very interesting, but like I said earlier, I wanna' dig into the real life elements of “Wakanda” being the most technologically advanced country on earth.
So to find an example of this—let's look towards the African country of Nigeria.
Now, let me say straight off—in the last couple of years, Nigeria has gotten boatloads of negative press behind the terrorist organization “BOKO HARAM”, and their kidnapping of hundreds of Black Nigeria's schoolgirls.
So, being a curious type of fellow, I did a bit of research on the matter. And what I found was, according to an independent watchdog group called the “Greenwhite Coalition”, which is made up of “citizen volunteers”—the terrorist organization we know as BOKO HARAM, is actually a creation of america's CIA, used to destabilize Nigeria. And they did this with the intent of gaining more access to this country's oil supplies. And you don't have to take my word for this, go find this out yourself.
And coincidentally, Nigeria just happens to produce the most oil in all of Africa.
So it's the same ol' soup reheated fam—first america presents us with a “terrorist” organization called the “Taliban”, and years later, we find out that they too were created by the CIA, and tasked with the agenda of helping the american gov't get access to the oil supplies in southern asia, or what whitey calls the “middle east”.
But let's move on...
Now, historically, “cryptocurrencies” like “BitCoin”, “BiteCoin”, “SwiftCoin”, “PeerCoin”, etc. were introduced to america during the latter years of the new millenium (2009—today). However, Nigerians were using cryptocurrencies (especially digital banking technology) since the early 90's.
How you ask?
Well, as Mark Essien, a Nigerian tech guru said in a “Ted” talk, Africa didn't invest heavily in “land-lined” infrastructures for phone services—thus, the cellphone banking phenomenon, caught fire much sooner there, than in the majority of the world. So what Mark basically showed the “Ted” audience, and anyone listening, was how Europe especially, was “playing catch up” to this technological advancement commonly found in Africa. And I'll include the “Ted” talk featuring Mark, at the end of this post.
Now, even though I consider myself a fairly learned fellow, I was caught off guard by this. Cause my whole life, I'd been taught that Africa was this incinerated cesspool of famine and disease. So I still have to remind myself not to think of Africa in that way.
And after doing a bit more research, I found that the company “Vodacom” basically dominates Nigeria's digital banking industry. I also found that the Managing Director of “Vodacom Business Nigeria”, is a brotha named “Lanre Kolade”.
But alas, when I looked up the CEO's of the whole of Vodacom's company (Vodacom was created in South Africa), I found a man named Mohamed Shameel Aziz Joshub, who looks to be a dark-skinned asian, running the show. And the current CFO of this company, is a man named Till Streichert, who looks white.
That's when the names of two of my heros, popped into my head.
Several years ago, I wrote a post about Dr. Henry T. Sampson. He's the nuclear engineering brotha, that created the “Gamma Electric Cell”, which is where we get the term “cellphone” from. And understand, this device isn't only responsible for making your cellphone work, but it's makes mobile internet service possible, and, it's in every tablet and laptop computer—just like the one I'm using to write this post. And a Black man created it.
So the credit for the cellphone's very creation, goes to us.
Then I thought about Dr. Phil Emeagwali, who created what we now know as the “internet”, with his nature-based technology systems. Not only that, but in 1989, Dr. Phil won the “Gordon-Bell” prize for building the world's fastest computer—the world's fastest. And guess where Dr. Phil's from fam?
*Note: I'll leave links to the posts I wrote about these two geniuses at the end of this one.
So please understand, when you watch the Black Panther movie, know that “Wakanda's”, or “Black people's” technological advancements, aren't something to only be witnessed in science-fiction—cause they're firmly rooted in today's FACTS!
And like Sam L. Jackson said in Spike Lee's movie, “Do the Right Thing”: “That's the double truth, Ruth”.
Here's the “Ted” talk vid I promised, featuring Mark Essien, who speaks about the technological advancements of Nigeria. Mind you, this lecture is 3 years old, so some of the commentary may come off as dated, but that don't change the feats of ingenuity Mark talks about, that were created solely by us.
And here's a wonderfully curated vid about the historical origins of the Black Panther's technologies, created by another long-standing hero of mine, Professor A.C.E. of the “African Creation Energy” company. (*Note: this vid contains a lot literary elements, so if you'd like to see those more clearly, you can click onto the vid's header, to see it's larger version on YouTube.
And if you wanna' read the post I wrote about Dr. Henry T. Sampson, you can do that HERE.
Additionally, if you wanna' read my post on Dr. Phil Emeagwali, you can do that HERE.