With the release date for Marvel's long-awaited Blank Panther film just over a week away, set to premiere on Feb. 16, the movie is proving to be much more than a solely a superhero motion picture but a burgeoning cultural movement; one that marks an impactful portrayal of Black excellence in Hollywood.
The film, which stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira and Daniel Kaluuya, has already broken records for advance ticket sales, as well as has further ignited a national dialogue about the importance of representation. Earlier this week, the hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe went viral, inspiring Twitter users to share their own stories and perspectives surrounding the film's undeniable impact.
Additionally, a new petition on Change.org began picking up steam, calling for Marvel and its parent company Walt Disney to invest 25% of their earnings into Black communities.
"As black communities across the United States continue to grapple with issues such as gentrification, police brutality, and substandard living conditions we cannot continue to recklessly support these conglomerates, allowing them to profit off of us without demanding something more than just their products in return," Chaz Gormley, the creator of the petition, writes.
The petition also explains how Marvel Studio's marketing campaign surrounding the upcoming film targeted Black America, such as through releasing the film during Black History Month and by hiring a largely African-American cast, further breaking down why the entertainment and media powerhouse should give back to communities of color.
"You have the ability to not only be entertained, but to leave the theater in February knowing that a portion of your money will be coming back into your community" Gormley continues, explaining why he's calling for Marvel to invest 25% of the film's profit. "To not only go see a film about a fictitious country in Africa with advanced technology, but the opportunity to invest in programs which focus on the fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – that make such advancements possible, in real life."
At the time of this report, the petition has collected over 400 signatures and counting.
Black Panther is one of the most anticipated film's of the year, with Kendrick Lamar handling the soundtrack duties. Take a listen to some of the tracks that have already been released in advance of the premiere, here.