When “Black Panther” came out my timeline was full of think pieces dissecting every aspect of Wakanda life from the wardrobe to different interpretations of single quotes from the film. Now we have “A Wrinkle in Time” and all I saw was an article about how “A Wrinkle in Time” is just as important as “Black Panther”. Now I am not one to make comparisons. “Black Panther” and “A Wrinkle in Time” are two totally different films. The only reasons why they get compared to each other is because they are both big budget Disney films directed by African American directors, featuring Black leads with strong Black female characters who are the smartest people in the universe, and also happen to be kickass warriors. Just a few similarities I guess but you probably already knew that. Since they are compared so much I figured “A Wrinkle in Time” was deserving of some more think pieces and sense I felt so inspired by the film I decided to write one myself. Here it is chock full of spoilers. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
5 reasons I Found “A Wrinkle in Time” Affirming as a Grown-Ass Black Woman:
1. It affirmed my faults: Being pre-adolescent the main character Meg, like most girls her age, was plagued by her insecurities. As a result, she had no friends and was often bullied which only served to make her more insecure about herself. As she journeys through the universe the self doubt that was constructed by her low self-esteem hinders her at every turn until however, she acknowledges her faults, speaks them aloud and owns them in such a way that they could not be used against her by her attacker. This ownership of what she considered “faults” in the film resonated with me because it speaks to the power we gain when we stop hiding who we are and embrace our true selves. We are unstoppable when we are aware of our faults but just as secure in our virtues.
2. It affirmed that we have Black Girl Magic: Meg can fly. She understands physics (Lord knows I struggled in Physics in college). She can put her hair in a top-knot with no hair tie. It is her mother, Dr. Dana Murry’s, equation that made it so that her father could travel through the universe. However, her mother had the sense not to do it. Without even including Oprah Winfrey’s character, Mrs. Which, this film is dripping with Black Girl Magic.
3. It affirmed why we aren’t all openly trusting: We are pretty familiar with the Angry Black Woman troupe. We see it all the time and at the beginning of the film Meg could be perceived as just an angry black girl. Meg however, isn’t just an angry black girl, Meg has a backstory (like all girls that get plastered with that label). It is clear that Meg is hurting and the source of that hurt stems from the abrupt absence of her father. This is captured in a scene where Meg gets sent to the principal’s office for hurting one of her classmates and the principal begins talking about how she has “this wall up” and that she can’t use her father’s disappearance as an excuse for being guarded forever. However, it was this lack of trust that protected her from falling victim to the darkness when she was offered food that she felt skeptical about so ultimately did not to eat it. To me this exemplified how so often we have life experiences that diminish our ability to trust openly which can get in the way of opportunities at times. The film however acknowledges that our lack of trust in the world is coming from a real place and when exercised correctly can lead to self preservation, as it did for Meg. Like so many of us who have good reason not to be trusting as a means of self protection, when this self protection is utilized appropriately it actually serves as a tool for survival.
4. It affirmed my natural hair: There is no denying the theme of embracing one’s natural hair throughout the film. Granted, the message might have been made more powerful if Meg had a curl pattern that was a bit less socially acceptable. Nevertheless, the evolution of Meg’s feelings towards her full head of curls sometimes frizzy, sometimes well defined was a super important thread throughout the film. I know that as a grown ass woman who has worn my hair naturally for the past five years I felt affirmed when Meg chose her curly-haired-eyeglass-wearing self (I also wear glasses) over the more trendily dressed, glasses free, straight haired option of herself she was presented with. Just to be clear, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with straightened hair or eye contacts and for the most part the dominant culture in our country does not either. Natural hair is not as widely accepted and in many ways has been under attack. That is why the storyline dealing with Meg’s hair throughout the film is so meaningful.
5. It affirmed our ride or dieness: I recently saw Ava DuVernay on the talk show, “The Real”, and she described “A Wrinkle in Time” as a story about love. Based off the trailers I assumed it was about a daughter’s love for her father and vice versa but when watching the film I realized that it was about all types of love. The search for self love of course but there is also this maternal type of love that Meg shows towards her brother. Meg is ride or die for her brother. She shows this fierce sort of love towards him that her own father was not able to muster. To me Meg’s love for her brother speaks to our relentless and boundless capacity to love. It is this powerful relentless love that allows women to survive child labor, protect our loved ones, work tirelessly to support our families financially and just get shit done. Watching Meg’s love for her brother on the big screen was a nice reminder of how astounding our love can be.
In closing, I would like to thank Ava Duvernay for her inspiring filmmaking. While “Selma” showed us what we were capable of doing in the past. “13th” painted a picture of the challenges we are up against today. Leaving “A Wrinkle in Time” to demonstrate how the power of love and trust in our youth can give us hope for a more liberatory future.