IRON FIST: NETFLIX AND THE ‘WHAT NEXT’

MARVEL’S IRON FIST: WHAT WENT RIGHT, AND WHAT WE CAN DO

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It’s amazing to see how the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has built up its interconnected universe on the small screen. Time, chance, coincidence and opportunity all seem to have worked to Marvel’s advantage as they have not only seen success in their most popular titles, but have also seen the return of some of their long-lost titular characters such as Spider-man, Blade, Daredevil and Punisher. Now, it was the worry of so many of us fans that each of these individuals wouldn’t get justice done to their characters, but again, the MC did us proud.

Taking into consideration the fact that the MCU is the first of its kind to weave an interconnected universe in the form of movies and the small screen, it should not therefore, be a cause for alarm when they dare to try something new. I am careful to point this out since there is so much that the MCU is still yet to discover—and building a unique feel, theme and story for every character is not knew to Marvel, let alone its comics. One way to look at it is that, like the comics, Marvel has never shied away from tackling current issues (sorry DC, but Marvel did this better).

Perhaps one of the most daring moves by Marvel under the leadership of its forerunners, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, being one of them, Marvel broke the approach to doing comic-books. Also, on the same note, it could be said that the decision to take certain concepts from DC and flip them was a conscious decision to prove that they could do it better. Though debatable, it’s still a fascinating topic for fans to discuss. So, I’ll leave that to you true believers. If we could then take that understanding to mind, then we could argue-all Marvel fans out there-that we could not have gotten some of the most memorable characters that the world has seen had Marvel (called Atlas then) not dared to create characters who challenged the norm and what defined super-heroes, we wouldn’t have been thrilled to see what’s going on before our very eyes this day and age.

It would not have been thrilling to plead for Sony to let go of Spider-man; or for us fans to plead for Punisher, Daredevil to be brought back; or to even hope for the return of the X-Men and the Fantastic 4 to Marvel from Fox. That is why we fight for them to be brought home, like the father of the Prodigal Son story, only that this time we go after him and try to drag our son home. We LOVE these characters, RELATE to them and acknowledge the UNIQUE attachment we have with them. Think about this for a moment, which discriminated parties in this world cannot see themselves in the X-Men? Which child of colour cannot see himself as Spider-man or as Black Panther, a king? If psychologists are correct, that is the kind of mental stimulation that challenges the imagination and helps a kid realize his potential in such a dark world that probably won’t like him because of such silly things as their skin-color or their gender.

Then in comes a character like the Iron Fist. It’s taken me some time but I feel ready to talk about the new Netflix show of the titular character. You see, it’s crazy to attack Marvel on the account that they should have made the Iron Fist Asian—on that, I agree with Comicbookcast2, Comicsexplained and Nerdsync; there is no need, because Danny Rand isn’t of Asian descent. The second critique is that of its main character played by Finn Jones—in his defence, there was no need to attack him on social media to the point that he quit Twitter. Yes, let’s admit it, depending on whose writing the story, Danny Rand Iron Fist has always been a bit quirky but wise, and at times dead serious. Trying to find the fine line between both iterations is tricky, especially if adapted for the small screen as a live-action feature.

Kevin Tencharoen (I sure hope I spelt that right), some of you might remember that name from the Mortal Kombat live-action series that was created a couple of years back. He was one of the minds behind it. I know some of you will immediately have a light-bulb moment and realize something…Marvel took a risk with the one person well-known for birthing a martial arts-based series some years back. But, given what Marvel had, they risked, yes, they did, Harold Meachum was a more horrible villain than his Earth 616 counterpart; Colleen Wing’s story and relationship was discussed; Davos’ deviousness and 2-Faced nature; Danny’s complicated, action-filled life as the Iron Fist was aptly portrayed as well as his desire to build his father’s company and seek justice for his family as well.

I will agree on one thing, the pacing is slow and they could have done something about that. Behold the blessed place of the critic and fan; the position of evaluator and analyser. We can critique it but we also have to do it in a manner that will see the characters built and brought back in Season 2 better than ever. So, I plead with you, the MCU exists not for Marvel but for us, let’s help them build it better.

KENYA’S MASHUJAA DAY: WHAT THE KENYAN CHURCH NEEDS TO NOTE

HEALING THE NATION

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Hey everyone, how are you all? I am so happy to be back here. I just hope that for those of you who’ve been following me, will take the time to forgive my absence. I have been trying to re-adjust to school life and I am so glad that I can now use this blog to impact, challenge and motivate my followers. Please do not feel left out or neglected, I am back and I’m here to be that blessing to many who read my posts. Remember, feel free to hit me up so that we could share and discuss these issues at a personal level. Love you all!

Now, here we are, Kenya is celebrating yet another Mashujaa Day. The air is filled with excitement as every citizen of Kenya rejoices in the fact they are still an independent country thanks to its heroes. These heroes are what are known in Swahili as “Mashujaa”. These are the men and women who fought for the country’s independence from the British colonial rule…every one of these men and women are revered for their roles in the struggle.

The country’s heroes suffered greatly. Not only were our country’s beloved heroes beaten up, flogged, thrown in prison and persecuted, they endured! Give them credit where it is due, they never backed down even opting to lose their lives rather than live under oppression. And whether or not the country today realizes this, these great men and women defined the nature of Kenyan pride, philosophy and identity. We are undivided. We are one! We refuse to live under the yoke of oppression even that which originates from our own people. This very point, the church in Kenya understood.

In the second stage of gaining Kenya’s freedom, key church leaders stepped up to challenge unjust systems in the country’s governance. Not only did they rise up to speak, they, like the Heroes before, made a scene about it and suffered greatly for it. They did not relent, but they stood for one truth: The Gospel’s message was freedom from sin and injustice and the mere existence of the church in the country ought to reflect that fact. How incredible?

Here were a class of senior, revered ministers of the Gospel who did not esteem their positions higher than their true callings as followers of Jesus but let themselves suffer for the rest of the country to experience true freedom. It is no small feat to achieve such a treasured thing as freedom, but it is sad when the heart and values of those before are not seen to trickle down into today’s crop of leaders and ministers. But let it be said now, There is hope and someone reading this might agree and find him/herself to be that hero that the Kenya today needs.

The struggle is still not over until we are truly one in heart, mind, agenda and identity.

When the Chips Fall

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What Africans are Learning from the Pursuits of Men like Dr. Martin Luther King

Hey there people! It feels like ages but I am so glad that I got an opportunity to share something on this sensitive topic. First and foremost, Happy New Year, or as we would say in my country Baraka za Mwaka Mpya Kwenu (Blessings of the new year to you all)!

As the first post on my blog, I want to set the pace for a series of thought-provoking and inspiring pieces throughout the year. This is the first of many that I hope will get the world thinking a little bit more of my voice as a member of the black-African community.

For a long time now, people of African descent have been identified every now and then as “African”; a clear example of this is seen in it’s use as an adjective to describe members of the black community who reside in the US, naming them “African Americans”. As okay as it sounds, it isn’t the full story surrounding the terminology.

African American is not necessarily a substitute for the indicator of people group. Black is the race, African is related to the continent and as such does not make an excellent substitute for the truth. Our identity is black. The question then remains, why do we escape it so?

I was privileged enough to hear from people who have had negative encounters with some people from other racial backgrounds and what they have observed is worth noting. One of the first things that they observed is that black is associated with the worst things imaginable (think about it a little bit…’black plague’, ‘black coal’, ‘black sludge’). I’m sure you get the point. It is very hard to associate oneself with that word…and what seems to happen is that these negative connotations associated with the color itself are somehow pasted onto those whose skin is labeled black or dark (note the words used). This is how Africa itself gained its identity as the ‘Dark Continent’…not a cool name.

But should we run? Martin Luther King Jr showed the African American community–no, scratch that!–the world! That race does and can never determine one’s contribution to society (content of an individual’s character supersedes the color of one’s skin). It is on this very basis that black as a color has over the years been associated with cool, hip, fun and stylish…and it is on this very basis that my fellow black people ought to realise that there is hope for our people. Not because of change of use of the word black, but because of the potential of the black community to be more (so far I feel like we have been up to a lot of “doing”). We are either getting hyped up about immediate wealth/riches or clinging to titles or forms of power.

In us uniting and working together, we can show the world what we are made of as fellow citizens of the world and coequal members of the human race. Africa is probably the richest continent but we underestimate it because we underestimate ourselves. Racial slurs and awful history has affected us negatively and it doesn’t matter whether you were born in Africa or in the West…we’ve suffered but here we are. It’s about time we own our identity as one people and stop bickering and allowing divisions of no consequence to destroy us.

We know pain, we know labor and we know intelligence. How can we let divisions reign in our midst…we are one! All other races ought to work together in like fashion and help destroy the chains that have kept us in fear.

In Jesus’ words, let us love one another…