A Richmond youth activist has launched a local crowdfunding campaign for the #BlackPantherChallenge, which was started by Frederick Joseph and went viral recently to help raise funds for children in the Harlem Boys & Girls Club to see Marvel’s “Black Panther” film, coming out Feb. 16.
Lance Cooper is the Youth Program Director for the SM Youth Empowerment Program here in Richmond, which he founded in 2016 to strengthen the underserved community and provide underprivileged, kids with an opportunity to participate in valuable education opportunities.
“My goal is to provide the opportunity for underprivileged children to get the experience of seeing this movie in theaters,” Cooper wrote on the campaign page for his reason for launching it. “It is extremely important for them to see characters that look like them portrayed in positive, powerful ways on the big screen.”
Created on Jan. 22, the #RVABlackPantherChallenge set a goal of $5,425 for kids in the program to see the film and as of Friday morning, the campaign had surpassed its goal at nearly $6,000.
Tickets for the film are $10.85 per adult and $7.85 per child. According to the page, the donations will fund tickets for children to see the film as well as refreshments. Tickets will be given out to children in the SM Youth Empowerment Program and to children in the Richmond area. Cooper’s goal is to give 500 youth the chance to see the film.
The remaining balance of donations after tickets are purchased will go toward Richmond youth empowerment programs and children hospitals, according to the GoFundMe page.
Cooper is planning to post video and pictures of their results, youth reactions and their experiences in the theater upon viewing “Black Panther.”
The film has shattered all advanced ticket sales over any superhero film to come before it, which makes it clear that representation of actors and actresses of color on screen is not only what the public wants, but what they need, especially black children who will finally get a superhero to look up to.
“When I asked the two boys (seen in the GoFundMe photo) why they felt the need to see Black Panther, they replied ‘because we finally have a black superhero,’” stated Cooper on the GoFundMe page.
Cover Photo by Disney