Well, it’s the first full weekend of Black Panther and the excitement level is building to proportions that I’m not quite sure ANYONE anticipated. I mean, I’ve been writing about it for almost a full month, and I’m still not tired of it. Today, I had the opportunity to attend an event with the Black McDonald’s Operators Association as they hosted 300 Chicago Public School students for a special screening of this blockbuster.
This effort was done in collaboration with Creative Cypher, a Chicago-based collective of artists and entertainment professionals who work to promote diversity in the film industry and beyond. Studio Movie Grill in Chatham served as the host theater with two of the theaters being rented out for the festivities.
As you can see, the houseful of littles had a great time representing the land of Wakanda for the day. They were even interviewed by WBBM and made this homeschooling mama proud! My children attend movies with me all the time, and this was the first time that they all expressed great concern with having to leave for a bathroom break. They didn’t want to, but knew that bad things would happen if they didn’t. Ha!
BMOA and Creative Cypher hand selected youth-focused non-profit organizations to gather students for the screening. Participating organizations include: Donda’s House, Common Ground Foundation, Free Lunch Academy, Free Spirit Media, True Star Foundation, Chicago Scholars and more.
Keeping with both organization’s aim to support education in urban communities; after the film, students will have the opportunity to learn about careers in film and related industries from a panel of African American professionals. Panelists include:
- Chris Walker – Comic Illustrator and former Colorist for Marvel Comics
- Mark Willis – Professional Stunt Performer currently featured in “Black Panther”
- Tai Davis – Chicago-born Actress currently featured in “The Chi”
- Jonathan Kirkland – Vocalist and Actor currently featured in “Hamilton”
- Natasha Parker – Location Manager/ Scout – Directors Guild of America
- David Leonard – Location Manager/ Scout
- Craig Harris – Emmy Award-Winning Producer and Writer
Panel Moderator: Troy Pryor, Founder, Creative Cypher and Board Member, SAG-AFTRA Chicago
Panel Moderator: Charles Gardner, President, SAG-AFTRA Chicago
Great advice was given to those high school students who had questions about every aspect of entertainment, and the panel members stayed for quite a while after to discuss in depth with students. I even asked a question about voice work. I still have dreams y’all! If you’re interested in sharing more events like this I suggest you link up with your local BMOA (Black McDonald’s Operators Association) and see the amazing work they continue to do.