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#WakandaTheVote takes Black Panther beyond entertainment and into politics 

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Feb 20, 2018

Back in 1990, the MTV crowd started encouraging young Americans to go out and Rock the Vote. Now, the Electoral Justice Project is inspiring African-Americans to get out there and #WakandaTheVote.

Thanks to the Electoral Justice Project—an offshoot of the Movement for Black Lives organized by Kayla Reed, Jessica Byrd, and Rukia Lumumba—now you can see the #1 movie in the country, Black Panther, and register to vote at the same time. That’s because for the first few weeks of the hit Marvel movie’s stay in theaters, the ELP will be choosing select screenings to “mobilize political engagement,” according to Blavity.

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The ELP’s registration efforts began in earnest this past weekend, with members wearing "Wakanda-inspired outfits" registering people standing in line for Black Panther. Which likely proved to be an effective move, considering the film had the biggest February opening ever, thanks in no small part to African-American moviegoers who comprised 37 percent of the audience (via comScore). According to The Hollywood Reporter, that’s up some 22 percentage points from the average tentpole feature audience.

Predicting such a huge turnout for the film, ELP wanted to meet their “communities where there are,” Reed and Byrd told Blavity. "This weekend we wanted to meet our people in Wakanda. … We know that for some it's a superhero world, but we know that the world we deserve is still waiting to be built—and we want to build it!"

 

Getting people registered is just the first step on the way to Wakanda-ing the vote, though, as the end hope is that African-Americans will also rock the ballot box come November during the midterm elections. The video above gives you a good sense of what the EJP hopes to change politically by doing so. 

Beyond registering voters at Black Panther screenings, the group will be engaged in nationwide activities throughout the campaign season, in hopes of educating and motivating black voters. And with yet another nod toward comic books, they’ll also be launching the Electoral Justice League, an intensive institute in hopes of achieving a “loving and strategic political home to seek transformational political change.”  

For more information, check out the Movement for Black Lives website, and to register to vote, simply text Wakanda to 91990.