Black Panther isn't just changing the way we see superheroes — it's turning regular people into superheroes!
Fueled by the cultural and social importance of the predominantly black Marvel movie set in Wakanda, a fictional African nation, a long list of celebs have stepped up to make sure as many kids as possible can experience the true magic of the groundbreaking film. Take a look at how Brie Larson, Serena Williams, Octavia Spencer, and even J.J. Abrams have chipped in to make Wakandans of us all.
One of Marvel Universe’s newest additions, Larson (who will star as Captain Marvel in the 2019 feature), is already flexing her superpowers. On Friday (February 16), the day of the film’s release, she used an extensive (and impressive!) Twitter chain to connect Black Panther fans in need of ticket funds with fellow fans who want to buy tickets for those in need.
Williams surprised a group of young girls from Black Girls Code in San Francisco with a private screening of Black Panther on Thursday night (February 15). In a video posted to Instagram, her husband, Alexis Ohanian, captured the excitement in the room as the tennis champ made her grand entrance. “Obviously this is a huge moment for us and for black people. We’ve never had a superhero movie, so we’re so excited. I feel like I’ve waited my whole life for this,” Williams said before introducing the film.
Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade weren't going to miss out on this fun. The couple partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Cleveland, Miami, Omaha, and Los Angeles's Watts neighborhood to send a total of 400 kids to Wakanda. "Black Panther is more than a movie, it's a movement," Wade wrote on Instagram.
On January 31, Spencer announced that she would be in Mississippi during Black Panther’s opening weekend, and vowed to buy out a theater so that children in underserved communities “can see themselves as a superhero.” She made good on that promise by purchasing three Saturday afternoon screenings on February 17, complete with popcorn and a drink. Not only that, but she also convinced director Tate Taylor and producer John Norris to buy a fourth Mississippi screening. (For those keeping score, Spencer did something similar last year when her film Hidden Figures was released.)
Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith
The CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment — the label that houses Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and Jay Rock — teamed up with Interscope Records to buy opening weekend tickets for roughly 1,000 kids living in Los Angeles-area housing developments, TMZ reports. Of course, Top Dawg has an extra special relationship to Black Panther, having helped create Lamar’s dope soundtrack for the film.
The rapper joined forces with Walmart to give away 300 tickets for an advanced screening of Black Panther earlier this week in Atlanta. “I think it’s imperative to know that there’s greatness inside of all of us and our children should know that early — that there’s greatness inside of them and that they all possess superhero-like qualities that will allow them to change the world. All they have to do is activate it,” T.I. said at the screening, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers player and Arkansas native hosted a screening of the movie on opening night (February 15) so that kids in Arkansas could enjoy the movie for free. As a bonus, each child received a book from First Book along with their movie ticket.
J.J. Abrams, Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Clinton, Snoop Dogg, Viola Davis
Thanks to New York-based Frederick Joseph’s viral #BlackPantherChallenge on GoFundMe, tons of celebs were inspired to get kids in theaters to see Black Panther for free. J.J. Abrams and wife Katie McGrath, Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Clinton, Snoop Dogg, and Viola Davis were among the many heroes who donated and helped spread the word. Thanks to Joseph and other GoFundMe’s inspired by his, over $400,000 has been raised to distribute thousands of movie tickets. And that’s the real power of social media.