TAMPA (FOX 13) - It's opening weekend for the highly anticipated superhero film “Black Panther.”
Marvel's first all-black superhero film hit the big screen in a big way. And some big names in the Bay Area are helping make sure African American kids who want to see it get that chance.
Across the country, organizers are making sure that young black children have the opportunity to see the film no matter their income level. They're calling it the “Black Panther” Challenge.
Volunteers in the Bay Area raised money to buy movie tickets for students who may not be able to afford a seat in the theater.
Jameis Winston and Titus O'Neil helped bring the “Black Panther” Challenge to Tampa Bay.
“Titus O'Neil reached out to me and said he wanted to expand and go from 200 to even more. The next thing I knew we were doing 2,000 students instead of 200. So he was able to reach out to Jameis Winston, Gerald McCoy, other major key players that were able to help buy out theaters for this screening,” organizer Joy McDowell said.
O'Neil surprised high school students with tickets earlier this week. And Saturday the students were up, bright and early, for their show time.
“I think this is amazing because the youth needs to see this. This gives them the capabilities to envision themselves in that role,” Winston told FOX 13 News.
They may be young, but the significance of “Black Panther” was not lost on the teens.
“On-screen you should be able to see every race and I think it's good that they're showing this. And people should be able to go see a movie with people that look like them,” 12-year-old Corisa Foster said.
Thanks to the work of Tampa organizers, 2,000 students will enter the fictional Land of Wakand at no charge.
With an all-black cast and Marvel's first black director, the movie has created a lot of buzz.
People tweeted about it over 5-million times and watched the trailer on the Marvel Youtube channel over 21-million times.
With popcorn and drinks in hand, children all across the country and in the Bay Area will be settling into seats, watching history in the making.