Not content with releasing a chart-topping soundtrack album, label Top Dawg Entertainment is also sending Los Angeles youths from the Watts housing projects to free screenings of Black Panther. The latest Marvel movie has been something of a revelation upon launch, receiving huge critical acclaim and having such a strong opening that predictions have been set very high for the movie’s overall box office return.
Alongside releasing a film with a strong plot, stunning action and terrific performances, the success of Black Panther is perhaps a result of the movie’s method of representation. Ryan Coogler’s film has been a breath of fresh air, and although it’s far from the first superhero movie to have a black hero at its core, Black Panther still feels like something of a milestone release. As such, it’s no surprise that campaigns such as the Black Panther Challenge have been appearing, to help children go and see the film at launch.
As it turns out, Kendrick Lamar’s label Top Dawg Entertainment is also getting involved. As reported by Billboard, president Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith has teamed up with Interscope Records to ensure that up to 1,000 youths from LA’s Watts housing projects including Nickerson Gardens, Jordan Down, and Imperial Courts are able to go and see Black Panther on Saturday, with transportation given by the L.A Unified School District.
The Black Panther Challenge was initially formed by Frederick Joseph of New York, who started a GoFundMe campaign to take children from Harlem to go and see the film. After raising more than $40,000, the campaign spread to other locations around the world, ensuring that youths that otherwise would have missed Black Panther have the chance to see it. After all, it’s rare to see this kind of blockbuster release, particularly one that sits as the highest-rated superhero movie on Rotten Tomatoes.
The importance of representation in Black Panther and the political aspect of the movie have been dismissed by some, but that’s ignoring the reaction that the film has received from those included in the Black Panther Challenge. As just one example, 1,500 Boston youths have seen the film through the campaign, and comments from those who saw the film show the impact it has. “We can feel like we’re part of it. It’s just truly amazing,” said TechBoston Academy sophomore Kimberley Vasquez to WBUR.
This excitement is feeding through to all aspects of Black Panther. Given how fantastic the film is, it’s no surprise to see it setting UK opening records, while the fact that some theaters are showing nothing but Black Panther shows the impression that the movie has already made. There’s positivity from every angle here, and long may it continue.
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