Almost no Marvel film in recent memory has been greeted with such anticipation and fanfare as Black Panther. The importance of the film as the first ever superhero film helmed by an African superhero, and based on Marvel's first ever black superhero, cannot be overstated, and has inspired celebrities and fans alike to host free screenings, start crowdfunding campaigns, or offer to buy tickets two by two for any youth of color who might not be able to afford this year's ever escalating movie ticket prices.
One of the latest among these screenings occurs today (Saturday) in LA, and is hosted by some people very close to the heart and sound of the film itself: Top Dawg Entertainment, in partnership with Interscope Records, today will be bringing almost 1,000 kids from three separate housing projects in Watts in LA to a free screening of the film.
The personal connections to this endeavor are twofold. Top Dawg CEO Anthony "Top Dog" Tiffith himself hails from Watts, and Kendrick Lamar, who assembled Black Panther: The Album, a soundtrack featuring music from--as well as inspired by--the film, is represented by the label (which also put out the soundtrack). The album features tracks by The Weeknd, Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, and more, and is expected to debut at Number One on Billboards Top 200 albums chart.
A flyer promoting the screening, which serves youth from the Nickerson Gardens projects, the Jordan Downs projects, and the Imperial Courts projects, references the hashtag #blackpantherchallenge, an initiative begun by New Yorker Frederick Joseph, after he was able to raise more than $40,000 to send NYC kids to see the film via GoFundMe.
His success led to his launching of a nationwide challenge via the hashtag, which spread quickly, leading to over $400,000 raised nationwide by over 400 GoFundMe pages.
Today, Top Dawg and Interscope have accepted the challege, with the Los Angeles United School District helping out by donating buses to bring the kids to the screening. It's all something of which T'Challa himself would be very proud.