SoundTRAX: "Black Panther"
Six years ago this month Black Panther with Chadwick Boseman finally hit movie screens.
No, I am not a comic book fan. I will never debate you on the merits of Marvel vs. DC.
But even I can truly appreciate the significance of the first Black superhero finally coming to fruition, one that was the first Marvel Studios film with a Black director (Ryan Coogler) and a predominantly Black cast.
And the cast is flawless, starting with the Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman, who made his first appearance as the character in Captain America: Civil War in 2016.
(You'll notice I didn't refer to him as the "late" Chadwick Boseman, as it's still so hard for me to believe so mammoth a talent could die just two years after the film's release at the age of 43.)
The rest of the cast is also exceptional, including Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker.
It was a massive hit, impressing audiences and even critics— a feat seldom accomplished by a comic book film— and earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, making it the first superhero film ever to be nominated in that category.
The cultural impact was undeniable, with GoFundMe drives being started worldwide to ensure that young boys and girls of color had access to the film and its positive role models.
And of course, a powerful film requires an equally powerful soundtrack.
Composer Ludwig Göransson did the score after initially travelling to Africa with musician Baaba Maal for research, while the soundtrack was curated by Kendrick Lamar and features songs that are heard in the film as well as others that are inspired by it.
Lamar performs solo and with artists like SZA, 2 Chainz, Jorja Smith, Vince Staples, Khalid, Anderson .Paak, Jay Rock, Travis Scott and more.
But for today's SoundTRAX selection, I'm going to have to pick a song that doesn't get me in trouble with the FCC for language, obviously, but its still a strong tune.
From Black Panther, it's The Weeknd with Kendrick Lamar and "Pray For Me."