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Crowdfunding Campaigns Helped Underprivileged Kids See “Black Panther”

Black Panther is the latest installment of the superhero movies that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has released, and it is creating quite a storm especially among the African-American community.  The creators of the film clearly encapsulated throughout the film the concept of responsibility to the black community in general, and the main message that the film is trying to convey is, sharing with people who are underprivileged.

There is more to the movie than it being a cast dominated by black actors, and perhaps the most touching scenes are not in the film itself, but rather happenings in real life.  People who have seen the film was so driven by its message that they created several crowdfunding campaigns to have the film be watched by underprivileged people, particularly kids.  These types of crowdfunding campaigns are not something new, it has been done in the past for films like Wonder Woman, Hidden Figures, and most recently also for the upcoming film, A Wrinkle in Time.  Most of the crowdfunding campaigns was motivated by the #BlackPantherChallenge, which was began in New York City in the hopes of raising funds for kids to see the movie.


You may have heard about 10 year old Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny in the past, she was the little girl who became famous for inviting President Barack Obama to come to Flint. Michigan when the city experienced a water crisis.  She is creating waves again in the media for spearheading a crowdfunding campaign that made it possible for hundreds of underprivileged kids and their companions to see the Black Panther movie.

Mari or Little Miss Flint (she won a beauty pageant a few years ago with the same title) was assisted by her mother and cousin to set-up a GoFundMe page for the campaign, and they were able to raise $16,000.  Originally, they rented out a cinema that can seat about 150 people, but since the money they raised can accommodate around 600 more, Mari said they were able to send of hundreds of kids in the cinema to see Black Panther during the weekend, plus buy them some of the movie’s merchandise.

Sounding like an adult, Mari said that there is a great need for black children to see the film because they should look at themselves as superheroes, not victims.  She and her mother, Lulu Brezzell, coordinated with shelters and organizations to seek those qualify for their cause.

Felicia Copeny, the cousin of Mari who helped her start the campaign, said that viewing of the film is very important to black kids in their community because seeing representation of themselves in media can help them feel more like superheroes and less as victims.  She wrote on the GoFundMe campaign page and said that aside from the fact that these underprivileged children cannot afford to go to cinemas, they have felt like victims especially because of the water crisis that their community suffered.


Dance performance before the screening of the Black Panther film for Ypsilanti High School Students

Because of a crowdfunding campaign made possible by Hero Nation Ypsilanti, more than 100 students of Ypsilanti Community High were able to watch the movie Black Panther in cinemas.  It was the founder of Hero Nation Ypsilanti, Jermaine Dickerson, who thought of the initiative to help at least 100 YCHS students to see the marvel superhero movie.  Dickerson’s plan was to raise at least $3,000 at the GoFundMe page he had set-up, but only two hours later the raised money already reached $3,500, and after a week, Hero Nation Ypsilanti’s campaign reached $10,000.  The extra money that the organization was able to raise was used to give out goody bags to the students that had toys, shirts, and art, comics, and other forms of literature about related to the black community.  The organization also arranged for a presentation before the showing of the film that features African culture inspired performances.

Seeing a superhero movie that was composed of mostly black cast had a great impact to the students, one of them was 17 year old Bennie Williams, a YCHS junior, who said that he likened the peaceful approach of the heroes in the movie on conflicts to that of Martin Luther King Jr.’s move toward the Civil Rights movement.  On the other hand, he associated the violent approach of the villain, Killmonger to that of Malcolm X, a man who promoted the use of violence if necessary for black people to defend themselves against white aggression.  Williams explained that the message that resonated most from the movie to him is that there are two choices to be made when attacking conflicts.

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