black panther

‘Black Panther’ Has Black Audiences Nationwide Thrilled

The movie’s record-breaking weekend is further proof that diversity not only has a positive psychological impact, it makes a lot of money.
February 19, 2018
4 mins read

The world is buzzing about the release of the new Marvel film “Black Panther,” which, according to Variety, is set to beat the opening weekend of “Deadpool,” formerly the record-holding premier, at $152 million.

The all-black led cast has encouraged celebrities such as Octavia Spencer and Jemele Hill to buy out theaters for young African-American youth to envision superheroes that look like them. Specifically, at NYU, the Black Student Union gave out five free tickets through a raffle and collaborated with the closest movie theater to host the arrangement this Saturday.

Usually, the African-American superhero is the sidekick to the white lead, whether it was Storm in the “X-Men” films or Nick Fury in the “Avengers” saga. Based on the Washington Post article “‘A different kind of superhero’: Why ‘Black Panther’ will mean so much to so many” by David Betancourt, Stan Lee and his partner Jack Kirby created Black Panther to bring in some diversity to the set of characters they wanted to portray.

There have been some black superheroes that have graced the screen in earlier years, such as Blade played by Wesley Snipes and Catwoman played by Eartha Kitt and Halle Berry, respectively.

As a person of color, the author of the Washington Post article mentioned that when he was a kid, he loved superheroes, specifically Batman. When asked about why he wasn’t drawing superheroes of color, his response was that he didn’t know much about them.

After finding out about Black Panther when he was younger and seeing the release of the movie, he commented, saying, “This will be the first time you see black people taking pride in who they are, because that’s just how they live.”

“Black Panther” has a strong black cast (Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Lupita N’Yongo), which has not been matched with its earlier movies such as “Blade” or “Catwoman.”

The same doors are being broken in television with “Luke Cage” on Netflix and “Black Lightning” on the CW. For African Americans, it is nice to see a lead superhero that looks like them because it motivates them to be something better in life than the opportunities they have been previously given.

Additionally, seven seventh-grade students from the Brooklyn school P.S. 282 were taken to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to see “Black Panther.” After the film, they were given a space to discuss their reactions.

The New York Times covered their reactions to the film and how “Black Panther” affected their outlook on life. For each category, they responded with a short statement about what they learned and what they wanted to achieve in the future.

For example, when talking about how the movie inspires black viewers, Gabriella Myles said: “Black women are as strong as any men and black little girls can be superheroes.”

This is shown by Ryan Coogler and how he directs the women in Wakanda to be strong, powerful characters on their own rather than the sidekick role they are usually known for in Marvel movies.

Alex Johnson, New York University

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Alexandria Johnson

New York University
Journalism and Public Policy

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