Ground Control Parenting – Carol Sutton Lewis

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Ages 13-15

Black Panther and Other Must-Sees This Month

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you must know that the “Black Panther” movie is opening on February 16th, just a few days away. This is the EAGERLY anticipated film, based upon a very popular Marvel comic book character, which stars Chadwick Boseman, Academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Jordan, and is directed by Ryan Coogler (of “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” fame). Boseman plays T-Challa, King of Wakanda, a fictional African country. He is the world’s first Black superhero, with an assortment of superpowers that include enhanced strength, super speed and agility. On top of this, he has great intellect, is a martial arts expert and is very rich. Superheroes don’t get much better than this one.

Of course, if you or your children are fans of the Black Panther comic book series, you know the story and have been waiting for this film for some time. But for those of us who are new to the Black Panther phenomenon, the hype surrounding this movie is, well, just phenomenal. Since the movie’s premiere in late January, it has received amazing reviews (Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 97%), and Fandango reports that ticket pre-sales are at an all time high for films released in this quarter. Vanity Fair reports that Black Panther is on track to earn $165-$170 million in its opening weekend. Incredible!

Following the lead of the businessmen and women who sent students to see “Selma” and “Hidden Figures”, marketing professional Frederick Joseph has raised money to send children to see “Black Panther”. Joseph explains why he believed it to be important to send children to see this movie: “The world of ‘Black Panther’ offers a rare opportunity for black children to see characters in a fantasy world who look like them…Many of us yearned for the chance to be Batman or Superman, but only if he was black. ‘Black Panther’ gives our children the chance to dream those dreams.”

After Joseph’s Harlem-specific fundraiser raised more than $40,000, he called on others to launch similar GoFundMe campaigns for their communities. The Challenge has inspired more than 300 GoFundMe campaigns, which have collectively raised more than $300,000 from all 50 states and 30 countries around the world to send approximately 23,000 children to see “Black Panther”.

We at GCP have certainly caught “Black Panther” fever, and while we are not generally superhero movie fans, we already have our tickets. How about you? What are you waiting for? You and your kids should go see this movie on opening weekend!! Supporting this film will help ensure others like it will be made.

Two PBS specials, screening this month in celebration of Black History month, no doubt, should also be on your must-see list. On Feb 16th, “Pioneers: Reginald F. Lewis and the Making of a Billion Dollar Empire”, a documentary which chronicles the life and legacy of African-American business pioneer and philanthropist Reginald F. Lewis, will be aired at 8pm on public television station WLIW21. It will subsequently be shown on Sunday, February 18 at 7:30pm on THIRTEEN in NYC; and on Saturday, February 24 at 7pm on NJTV. It will be available for online streaming nationwide after February 24th.

On Monday, February 19th, “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities” premieres on PBS stations nationwide. Nelson, whose parents both went to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), takes viewers on a journey that starts with the early development of HBCUs and covers their contributions to American history and culture over time.

Great stuff to see this month on the big and small screens!

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