SPOILER ALERT!!! X-Men Origins: Wolverine in Africa

I went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine today and was surprised to find an interesting topic to blog about from this screening. The film follows James Howlett (Logan/Wolverine) through several different major wars until he ends up on a special op team working for the army (essentially present day). On his first mission we find him traveling to Lagos, Nigeria. Along with several other mutants, Wolverine storms a diamond factory for an, as of yet, unknown reason.

The “Africans” go down like flies as the mutants use their special abilities to take them out one by one. When they finally make it to the leader of the diamond trafficking operation we realize they are not after diamonds at all. Instead they are looking for a mysterious rock/meteorite, something unique, yet worthless according to the African leader who uses it as a paper weight.

We follow the origins of the meteorite to a small village where more innocent locals are slaughtered. This gruesome, cruel behavior disgusts Wolverine who decides to abandon his team. As the story proceeds it is unveiled the the meteorite holds a special metal element, Adamantium, that the army is in search of in order to form the most perfect mutant weapon. Adamantium is the virtually indestructible metal that is fused to the bone structure of Wolverine to make him stronger and give his claws their shiny new look.

Several times throughout the film Africa is referred to as the mysterious continent from which this metal came from. Little more is said about the metal’s origins, except perhaps that it fell from the sky. Like many of the earlier films we have watched, this story had no trouble drawing upon the mysteriousness of Africa to pinpoint the location of a fictional resource.

Agent Zero takes out Nigerian gaurds

Agent Zero takes out Nigerian gaurds

Black or White?

So, while surfing random music from the 90s, I remembered Michael Jackson’s Black or White and youtubed the vid.

What do you think about the scene where he’s in “AFRICA” and the scene when he’s with the American Indians? (01.53-02.35 , 03.00 – 03.25) (pls click on the link, embedding was disabled, so I couldn’t insert the video in my post!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI9OYMRwN1Q

Colonialism & AIDS

 

 

I was fiddling around with google and I came across these two pictures and thought it would be a great idea to post them. The first picture places two couples in, what we can assume is, Africa having dinner surrounded by wildlife: specifically giraffes. The thing I found very striking about the second picture is the fact that the African individuals are portrayed as deformed. Thoughts?

The Dark Continent: A new meaning

Often when one hears the phrase “dark continent,” without doubt a person’s first instinct is to think Africa. Decades have passed where the continent of Africa has been associated with terms such as “dark,” “uncivilized” and “savage”.

A few questions  that were brought up in class were ” What happens when there are two different meanings to a trope?” and “Who assigns meaning to these words?”

It all comes down to the “gaze” and the object of the “gazing.” Depending on who is looking, meaning can change and the course of analysis of a trope can switch perceptions. For example, Mary Ann Doane examines in her essay “Dark Continents:…” how the phrase ” dark continent” indicates the existence of an intricate historical articulation of the categories of racial difference and sexual difference through Freud’s use of “dark continent” to signify female sexuality and Fanon’s use of “dark continent” to signify a racial power difference. Continue reading

Arise

I saw a blog post at the fashionblog Make Fetch Happen about a new publication from the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay. It is called Arise, “the first global magazine dedicated to the achievements in African fashion, music, culture and polity.”

In their promotion there seems to be double emphasis on the magazine’s Africaness and it’s Globalness (the word’s world, global, and African are used over and over again in different iterations in their blurbs). What I gleaned from the promotion is that the magazine is meant to both serve to an African audience and discuss the high-popular culture of their world and to introduce African high-popular culture to the global high-popular culture world. 

I was very much struck by Arise’s first cover: 

The cover models, Naomi Campbell, and Liya Kebede and Alek Wek, also “talk about their personal visions for Africa.” I’m a bit puzzled why Naomi Campbell, who is of Jamiacan/English descent included with Ethopian Kebede and Sudanese Wek talking about her vision of Africa. 

 

 

 

 

Naomi seems to have a sorta motherly role, placed at the top of the triangle with each arm around a model.

The cover must also be taken against the ongoing discussion in the fashion world about using models of color. There has been a a disturbing lack of models of  color in print ads and on the runway. This issue of Italian Vogue’s  that uses only black models in response.

Africa and the Media

Mall in South Africa

Mall in South Africa

The first few chapters of Mistaking Africa that we have read this week have resonated strongly with me as an African who has been exposed to western media representation of Africa since I was a kid. When I’m back home in Nigeria, I am constantly bombarded with news from all over the world, whether on local news channels, or on satellite TV, and now, Being a Nigerian a long way from home, I constantly try to keep up with news and popular culture from back home. In retrospect, Continue reading