Updated: Mar 23
*Warning Some Spoilers Ahead*
The first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier dropped on Disney Plus this past Friday, to continue the story of Marvels 2nd favorite sudo buddy cop duo (Rocket and Groot take first place) and Captain America's closest buddies.
This article isn't going to be a review of the first episode, though as a huge Captain America fan I would normally be all over this with opinions. Not today tho, today I want to highlight a very nuanced scene in the first episode that made me realize something extremely shocking. Sam Wilson isn't on a payroll! Thats right Sam isn't collecting a regular pay check in these MARVEL streets!
Tony had Stark Industries money, Nick Fury was a federal employee at SHIELD, Thor had old money as Asgardian royalty, even Bruce Banner made a decent living despite the risk of becoming a 12 foot green rage-a-holic. Could you imagine him as a cashier at POPEYE's chicken? But for some reason...Sam Wilson's income bracket qualifies him for a stimulus check and that just doesn't feel right.
Lets set the scene, Sam and his sister Sarah both jointly own the family house, fishing boat, and fishing business their parents left to them. Unfortunately, after Sam's five year absence and subsequent return due to The Blip, we find the family business is in deep financial trouble; so much trouble that Sarah is ready to sell the boat and the business. Sam on the other hand is unwilling to let go of the family's legacy in the Louisiana fishing industry.
So Sam arranges a meeting at the local bank to secure a debt consolidation loan to save the family business. I hope reading that felt as weird to you as it did to me, to even have to type it. Thats right, Sam Wilson needs a debt consolidation loan? I mean...that's regular Negro problems. Not world-famous, earth-saving, you can actually fly, "on your left" Negro problems, right? Why is Sam Wilson not wealthy or, at the minimum, well off enough to financially prop up his family's business? True, he is no Steve Rogers but come on...side kicks deserve to get paid too!
I was under the impression being an Avenger paid well. However, as Sam explains to the loan officer at the bank "it doesn't really work like that".
Due to Sam's lack of regular work history, his financials are all over the place. Also despite being a government contractor with proof of income, and having a business plan the confused loan officer is compelled to ask Sam a series of pretty insulting and unprofessional questions.
"How do you guys (superhero's) make a living?"
"is there some kinda fund for heroes?"
and "did Stark pay you while he was alive?"
Despite wanting to come across the desk and Hulk Smash the loan officer myself for being so rude, he was asking valid questions.
Questions Sam didn't really have answers for. According to Sam, the Avengers have thrived off the goodwill and charity of the people. Not the US government, not a United Nation fund, or wealthy benefactor. Charity!!!
Sam Wilson has relied essentially on GOFUND me campaigns and hustling government contracts to make ends meet. For SHAME Sam Wilson; how could you let them NOT pay you? No wonder you don't want to be Captain America, there are no health benefits.
Only in America can a uniquely skilled African-American Air Force Vet Superhero Avenger (say that fast three times) need a business loan! Like Bruh, You're allowing rockets to be shot at you for less than 6 figures? Come on Sam! You're making us look bad out here! All six movies, five lost years due to the snap, the multiple military operations, getting man-handled by Ant-Man!!! You mean to tell me, you have been doing this for FREE the entire time?
In the words of Senator Clay Davis:
I’m not fighting Thanos for less than a million, guaranteed. Let alone getting shot at dressed as a bright red bird with no 401K plan!
In the end the same loan officer acknowledges Sam Wilson's celebrity, his Hero status, and the fact that his family has banked with them for generations. Yet, despite all of that, after Sam declines him a selfie with Sam posing with his arms out...the loan officer denies the loan.
This scene will resonate heavily with people of color, especially Black people in America. All you have to do is a simple google search on Red Lining, Lending discrimination, or Banking discrimination to educate yourself on the financial race disparities in this country.
But again, these are regular Negro problems...Not Sam Wilson world-saver problems right? Wrong!!! Sam leaves that bank like so many other Black men before him... broke, pissed off, and off to sell fish dinners to family and friends (I peeped you Marvel/Disney not all of us sell dinners to make ends meet). My heart goes out to Sam, but I blame him for his plight. Who goes through this:
without first securing the bag? or at least a signing bonus! Hell, even rookie sports players get a contract and a union rep. I'm all for the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air as long as there is proof thru the night that my check will be there.
To add insult to injury, Sam turns down the one job that could have possibly brought him some serious money. And what does the United States government go and do the second the chosen Black candidate gives up Cap's shield? They gave it to a white guy that looks like the old man from UP!
Hopefully things start looking up for Sam and his family, but if I were him I wouldn't jump out of any more airplanes into danger until he gets some of the same disability insurance Rhody "War Machine" had that helped him learn to walk again.
Sam Wilson will become the new Captain America eventually, which hopefully garners him some endorsement checks or at least a few royalty checks from features on somebody's album. I just hope he's saving some of that Microsoft money he got and his stimmy:
We will see next Friday when episode 2 drops on Disney Plus. Worst comes to worse hopefully Sam can get the shield back and pawn it. I hear vibranium is worth a lot on the black market.