Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Lion King

Years ago remember watching the movie "Lion King" with my nephew as he was just a "lil thundercat" at the time; this movie seemed ideal to show to him as at that time this particular Disney film was the only that had any connection to Africa; it seemed the perfect film for a young African American male to view.

On the surface the premise of film was simple enough, the lost son comes home to redeem his people or lions( in this case) but upon closer examination I could not help but see the various analogies that can be drawn between the plight of the protagonist and the "Prideland" and the condition of the modern African American man and the African American community at large.

In the opening of the film we are introduced to 3 very important characters; Mufasa, Simba and Scar. Mustafa the older stronger brother who is king of the Prideland, Simba the young heir apparent and Scar the weak, scheming conniving and cowardly puny younger brother that was jealous of the older brother's position and his strength. Musafa the careful and deliberate father that he was explains to his son the important of the circle of life his place in it and to extent this was the theology of this story.In the meanwhile, operating in his character of deception and hopes of ruling the wicked Scar schemes to and eventually kills Mustafa and in trickery convinces the young Simba to run off and go into exile. While in this exile Simba becomes other than his true self, for instance though he is a lion he loves to swim, he's a vegetarian and he has no pride to protect and in essence grows to be just a shadow of what he could and should be.

Let me stop, this situation is exactly what has historically happened to the African in the diaspora! Musfasa representative of the Glory of African history past the accomplishments and accolades of the ancestors, the pride and dignity of African manhood was epitomized in the character. The circle of life that Mufasa explains to Simba is representative of the strong sense of spirituality that is prevalent in all African culture. The wicked Scar is representative of the oppressor, our younger brother who has always been desirous of our position and place in this world, Who having successfully cut us off from our culture and history has ran us off to a place of exile and in exile like Simba we have become other than our true self. whereas we have access to opportunity we choose the hustle and crime, though we can go to any school we choose we would rather shuck and jive, our father before us gave their lives so we could vote but we are indifferent. Brothers of the past stood strong and protected the community via being present in the home to be a role model for their sons and a revered figure to their daughters, brothers now are content with "Friend of The Court" and "baby Daddy" status. We truly have forgotten and become other than our true selves!

Picking back up on the story, whilst Simba is in exile the prideland in the meanwhile has become overrun with hyenas (who by the way had been kept at bay by Mufasa) who Scar has unnaturally paired with the Lionness in the hunt which subsequently caused over hunting which has caused a famine among the lions and hyenas. The Lioness still working in her natural function but without proper leadership from the Lion has unfortunately partnered with the scavengers. This is the community, in a nutshell! Like the lioness the sisters are still working in their natural function as mothers and providers for their children, still striving despite still holding on to the image of a strong figure but yet and still partnered with the scavengers! The scavengers i.e. the "thug nigga" that they love so much that leaves them heart broken and possibly with children that aren't being properly fathered, that damages their self esteem in an effort to bring them so that they can be controlled and manipulated. No coincidence that the fastest growing prison population is young black women. In the meanwhile the pride land is in shambles! This unnatural pairing has destroyed the fabric of the community and now what was once a hope filled land of abundant life has become a dangerous wasteland!

Yet there is hope! We know the story ends when Simba returns after being put back in touch with the "Circle of Life" via an experience with his father The King and in this experience he learns that The King lives in him, he defeats the enemy and the prideland is restored and the balance is returned. Ironically all along the true enemy was not Scar but it was Simba, before SImba could even think to face off with Scar he had to first face himself and what he had created in consequence of his lack of presence.

In this day and age of the prison industrial complex, TrayVon Martin, Troy Davis and Mike Brown and the continued portrayal of "dangerous angry violence and stupid savage" black man in media one can easily reosrt to thinking that there is no hope for the community.

In a likewise manner there is hope in our community because there is always the potential for the brothers to come to their senses and retake their position of leadership and by being put in touch with The King! In knowing brothers will truly realize that they themselves are a reflections of The King, and if they can be inspired by Him they will be empowered by Him!

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   

Romans 12:2

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