Tochi Onyebuchi Brought Immigration to Wakanda for Black Americans and No One Noticed

Wakanda Forever movement
“Wonders on every side, life in marvelous times”- Yasiin Bey

*Swirls ginger ale in glass tumbler* My father was visiting me once, he saw the sweatshirt I had happened to be wearing and told me to get him the same one. The sweatshirt was from Philadelphia Printwork’s ‘School of Thought‘ line and said, ‘Garvey Industrial Institute’. I know it must have been my father who told me about Marcus Garvey and his Black Star movement. Garvey’s whole mission in the 1920s was to get Black people to fuck with being African and embracing their Blackness. Mans had a whole movement about us going back to Africa. Fast forward to 1966, where Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are world building Marvel and decide to create Wakanda. A country in Africa that’s the most technologically advanced nation on the face of the earth. Once the Black Panther movie dropped in 2017, Wakanda truly took off in the main stream as “Wakanda Forever” becomes a real world greeting and understanding among Black folk.

There ain’t a Black person alive that doesn’t wish Wakanda was real, man. In the real world, Liberia and Ethiopia are the only two African countries that were not colonized. In the Marvel universe not only was Wakanda not colonized but they are hundreds of years ahead of every other country on earth in terms of technology and medicine. Wakanda was closed off to the rest of the world. It only started opening up really through T’Challa’s Grandfather (King Azzuri), Father (T’Chaka), and then T’Challa’s own actions to make it official. *sips ginger ale* However, as of recently in 2022 things have become officially official.

No Country for Black Men/Women/People

Wakanda Forever movement by Tochi Onyebuchi and R.B. Silva

Enter Captain America: Symbol of Truth written by Tochi Onyebuchi and drawn by R.B. Silva. The series focuses on Sam Wilson dealing with the Wakanda Forever movement. This is a movement where Black Americans are creating a movement for wanting to head to Wakanda. I’m remember reading the scene and thinking…fuck yes. Yeah. Marvel takes place in the real world. That’s been there whole kick. So, everything that happens in our world happens in Marvel Universe. Which means there may be police violence going on. We haven’t seen it too much in comics. There was a bit of commentary on it through the Americops (a private police operation) in Nick Spencer’s Captain America run. We’ve seen corrupt cops and some racists ones, but (to my knowledge) we don’t see official police portrayed as racist (but again I could be wrong and it may have been portrayed).

I’ve always wanted to see that frustration of reality expressed and legit how America truly doesn’t care about Black people. But more than anything, I’m like I know folks that wanna leave as well or at least wish they had somewhere else to go. So to see now a Black man talking about losing loved ones to gun violence (mad mass shootings) and doctors that don’t believe you when you say you in pain, I’m like oh Tochi Onyebuchi is fucking goin there, and I’m with it. The Wakanda Forever movement makes Sam Wilson feel like he’s failing. He’s supposed to be making America better with his mantle but the fact that Black folk wanna leave shows that he’s up against the impossible.

Now me, I say Sam gotta get his ego out of it. Fam, you may hold the shield but you holding it doesn’t erase the racist institutions, structures, or systems of oppression that the United States of America has had in place for hundreds of years. Steve Rogers always says, Captain America represents an ideal of what America should be. Ideals are all well and good, but it takes more than that to destroy the systems against Black folk. This isn’t a deterrent to the Captain America mantle but a pointing out that the fight against racism and oppression is a never ending one. Now, can you blame people for wanting to go where oppression never got a chance to even take root?

Tochi Onyebuchi said, “We Gon’ Be Alright”

Wakanda Visas Open up in Tochi Onyebuchi's Run

For the first time ever, Black Americans now have the option to apply for visas to go and live in Wakanda. We’ve seen that there is a study abroad program in Wakanda (shown in Ms. Marvel). This shit is unheard of. Famously, we’ve known that when the rest of Africa was being colonized, Wakanda stayed out of it. Something that they have been chastised for by folks (most notably Storm). T’Chaka’s father has stated that he gave aid and help during apartheid in South Africa. With immigration now open, this is a huge change to Wakanda’s status and the xenophobic label that they get slapped with so often.

Friends, Tochi Onyebuchi is crazy for this one. I kept thinking about how if you are a Black mutant then you have the option to go to Krakoa, maybe you find out about Arakko which is the planet for the Arakki who are Black/Black coded mutants (Mars was terraformed into Arakko). But let’s say, you don’t wanna leave your Black family members and friends that aren’t mutants behind. Well now you can all apply for visas in Wakanda and go there. That’s wild as fuck.

This offers a lot of questions too, because we haven’t seen that many notable mutants in Wakanda (aside from Gentle). What’s life like for them there? Are we going to get to see the culture clash and gap between Black Americans integrating into African culture? We ain’t ever seen it truly play out on panel. This isn’t just a one and done thing here. With this action of bringing Black Americans in, we got to see the aftermath. How will the world take to this? Will we see Black Brits coming over, as well Black folk from other countries? This raises so many questions for me. This is such a huge deal to me, and I feel it should really be getting talked about more because how far does this go. Do the folks immigrating into Wakanda need to provide money for their own housing? What does relocation look like for those leaving everything behind in America to start anew? There is so much to unpack that it could legit be its own separate series.

When Allyship Turns Shipwreck

Now, a lil back story on the other side of the story at hand. If yall don’t know, the man above is named Hunter. His family’s plane crashed over Wakanda years ago. He was the only survivor and then taken in by King T’Chaka. Making him the adoptive older brother of both T’Challa and Shuri (He debuted in 1998 retcon). Hunter was raised in Wakanda and grew to love the place becoming a stark patriot of the country. When T’Challa was born, he held resentment because he knew that now, he would never be king. He made it a point to prove himself even more to Wakanda, which had T’Chaka appoint him to head of the the Hatut Zeraze, the secret police (a white dude as the head of the black ops that takes out Wakanda’s political enemies? I know.) T’Challa found Hunter’s methods too brutal and disbanded the the Hatut Zeraze once he became king. Hunter left with a few members of that black ops team, and they became mercenaries. Though he and T’Challa have been at odds, Hunter would never harm Wakanda and even still only sought to protect it.

I bring up Hunter because in Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, we come to find out he’s the bad guy behind the scenes pulling the strings. He’s smuggled out some vibranium and is pulling strings. His goal as far as we know as of issue #5 is apparently setting up some of the Black folks coming in with visas as carriers of a chemical weapon activated by being in vicinity of vibranium. He knew Sam Wilson would sneak in trying to find out what’s going on (after being denied partnership to help via the Wakandan government). This chemical attack would basically frame Sam Wilson and put Wakanda at odds with America. That story still has to play out. My thing is, it’s really wild to see Hunter now wanting to take over Wakanda this way. This shit is wild as fuck but kinda shows two sides to how allyship can flip.

One, it’s wild as fuck that Hunter thought that even as the adopted son, he, a white dude would be able to become Black Panther. I get it, Wakanda is your home, it’s all you know. As a citizen, he could very well challenge to become the Black Panther…but dawg. Ain’t no way in fuck that was going down. Hunter loved Wakanda even though he was othered there. Mans was a patriot at heart and always down for the cause for his country. He was close to Queen Ramonda, T’Chaka’s third wife who was also an outsider since she was South African. Now, did we need Hunter, a white character, retconned into the history of T’Challa as his adoptive brother? No. However, it did serve as the foreshadowing of how T’Chaka wanted to open Wakanda’s borders. Hunter being jealous of T’Challa is a good look at how allyship can turn when the person accepted in can’t accept aspects of the group they’ve been welcomed into. Fam, Hunter grew up Wakandan, mans was taken in by the fucking king. He was allowed to live and grow up in a nation that was never colonized instead of being left returned to the wild where his parent’s plane crashed and fend for himself.

However, T’Challa being born represents in a way, Hunter having to witness to T’Challa being entitled to the mantle of Black Panther. Perhaps, all the while wishing he could have the same. Now, if we were in the real world, this could all be hashed out in therapy or a conversation. That wouldn’t really make for compelling storytelling in comic books though now would it. I preferred this Hunter, he didn’t see eye to eye with T’Challa. Went off and did his own thing. However, he was still loyal to the nation that raised him. He would never take up arms against Wakanda and would come to his nations aid without hesitation. Hunter could have served as a bridge for Wakanda and the outside world, if he could have just kept his jealousy in check and been fine with the hand he was dealt. However, there were factors that would change him, namely the “death” of queen Ramonda (she was actually kidnapped) and then T’Chaka’s death. Had his parental figures not died, perhaps things would have played out differently for Hunter.

Sadly, Hunter started doing some fuck shit (killing) in 2017 in the Black Panther: The Man Without Fear story arc that gets him exiled. Fast forward to him now using Black folks as chemical weapons going into Wakanda, and I’m just like come on, man. Hunter–fam, what the fuck is you doing? This is fucked up on so many levels. Never mind that Wakanda is once again in the aftermath of another upheaval, the fact that Hunter is using Black bodies to attack the Black people that took him in? I— There’s so many levels of fucked up to this that I can’t even begin to count. Worse off, where Hunter could have been the bridge for showing that Wakandans and outsiders can get along. He now becomes a cautionary tale of what happens when Black folk take in outsiders and make them one of us. Real shit, Hunter shoulda been grateful that the most advanced nation on the fucking planet took him in, but jealousy is a hell of a drug and now we are here: where he’s doing terrorist shit to put forth yet another attempt at a coup for overtaking Wakanda.

Again, we still have yet to see how this will play out, but man, there’s really no coming back for this one. I wish Hunter would’ve stayed on his true allyship shit but, as much as ya hate to see it, it is not far fetched at all to see him turning turn coat and using Black folks’ bodies as weapons and a means to an end. I seen some fucked up shit, but this right here? No redemption story can undo the choice and damage that Hunter has put into play. This is enemy of the state type conspiracy shit right here. If Hunter left well enough alone, he could have been seen as an example of an ally truly protecting a nation of Black folks that took in him with his life. Now, that man goin be publicly enemy #1.

“WAKANDA, THE REAL WAKANDA! WE OUTSIDE”

Now back to the Black joy goin on around these parts. I am interested to see how hunter’s attack is resolved and what the rest of immigration into Wakanda looks like in the next issue. I probably should have waited till then to write this, but I was just way too excited. I suppose it’s nice to imagine that at least in fiction, these Black Americans in the Marvel Universe can at least escape America. I’m always pro shit that’s going to evolve world building and push up against the stat quo. This move with Wakanda pushes the nation forward (in my eyes at least) in the world of Marvel. This is something Wakanda should have done long ago and perhaps may be offered to Black folk in other countries. This just feels real good to see. There’s so much going on with mutants that it’s nice to see Black folk that get the real-world hate mutants get be taken care of as well.

Tochi Onyebuchi and R.B. Silva really did something here. I love that we get to see Black folks being welcomed, embraced, and Sam Wilson seeing how different this feels than being back in America. I dunno man; this feels like a very important moment in Marvel history. I hope it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, and we see more ramifications in the future due to Wakanda allowing permanent residence. What a time to be alive, folks.

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  • Omar Holmon is a content editor that is here to make .gifs, obscure references, and find the correlation between everything Black and Nerdy.

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