A Black New Yorker’s mission to help Harlem children see "Black Panther" has turned into a national #BlackPantherChallenge, with tens of thousands of dollars raised towards movie tickets and storytelling programs.
The Root reported yesterday (January 22) that the challenge began earlier this month, when marketing consultant Frederick Joseph launched a GoFundMe campaign to send 300 children participating in Harlem Children’s Zone‘s programs to "Black Panther" screenings. "￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼I want these children to be able to see that people who look like them can be superheroes, royalty and more," Joseph wrote in the GoFundMe description.
The fundraiser gained momentum on social media, and The Root says it quickly surpassed Joseph’s original $10,000 goal. Joseph amplified this momentum by using the hashtag #BlackPantherChallenge on Twitter and encouraging celebrities and other users to donate and start their own campaigns. That call led to the creation of 90 similar fundraisers nationwide, with Black public figures like sportscaster Jemele Hill and rapper Snoop Dogg encouraging supporters to donate. Some, like Viola Davis, used the challenge to do additional fundraising that supports Black film causes in different U.S. cities:
Our friends at @CapCityBFF have accepted @FredTJoseph‘s @gofundme #blackpantherchallenge to send 200 youth in #Austin to see @theblackpanther. Let’s make this happen!#Donate: https://t.co/ys6BvuE1fO pic.twitter.com/udJqiJyDLp
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) January 22, 2018
Joseph appeared on "Ellen" with "Black Panther" lead actor Chadwick Boseman to speak about the challenge. He says that the original campaign has since raised over $42,000, with money that doesn’t support tickets going towards a new children’s storytelling program at the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem.
"I decided that I was going to try to bring kids to see the "Black Panther" film so they can see themselves in this story, and see a Black king in Africa protected by the fiercest warriors in the nation, who all happen to be Black women," Joseph explained to Ellen Degeneres about the campaign’s origins. Watch the interview in full below:
Degeneres interviewed Joseph and Boseman after premiering a new clip from the film, which shows Black Panther in full armor as he takes down enemy gunmen during a car chase. Watch the clip at the beginning of the following video: