The reaction to Marvel’s latest cinematic outing is in, and Black Panther looks sure to be another hit. Early responses (from critics who were treated to a first-look showing at the premiere on Monday) have praised the performances, setting, costumes and Ryan Coogler’s direction, and with the new film only a few weeks away from release, fans will be chomping at the bit to see Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa in action once more.
And now, one UK actor has decided to make it easier for young people to go and see the upcoming film, collecting donations through GoFundMe to book out a cinema in south east London and invite along kids from the area who might not otherwise be able to see Black Panther.
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“Basically I am, along with many people, very excited about the release of Black Panther,” Chewing Gum and Doctor Who star Jade Anouka wrote on the page, which details her plans to rent out a screening room in her local cinema PeckhamPlex.
“I think the film is pushing boundaries and breaking glass ceilings. Black presence on film and TV is underrepresented and often pushing negative stories.
“Many kids grow up loving superheroes aspiring to be Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man etc. This film is new in that it is not only positive representation of black characters but Black superheroes! And strong female characters!
“I think the film will be an inspiration to so many and I’m especially excited about showing young black people that they can be the hero too.”
At time of writing, Anouka (also soon to appear in ITV drama Trauma) has collected well over her original £1,000 goal, with over £3,000 donated and more pouring in from members of the public and even some well-known faces.
According to the page, donations have apparently come from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Noma Dumezweni, Gunpowder’s Shaun Dooley, Kiri’s Paapa Essiedu, Cucumber’s Fisayo Akinade, Doctor Who writer Sarah Dollard and Mamma Mia director Phillippa Lloyd among many others.
We caught up with Anouka to find out more about her inspiration for the project, what Black Panther means to her and what her plans are now that her idea has surpassed her wildest expectations.
Congratulations, Jade – you must be over the moon with such a fantastic response!
Yeah, it’s been amazing. I’m so glad. We’ve actually today managed to double the amount of young people we can get in. A bigger screen! £3,000 is the amount that’s been donated, and about 200 kids are going to get in.
And PeckhamPlex have offered to donate some popcorn as well for the kids.
As I understand it, this project was inspired by something similar over in America?
Yes, they’ve got this thing called Black Panther challenge. And I saw it on… Viola Davis, I think she’s one of the instigators of it over there. She started one in Austin where she’s trying to get 200 kids in.
And I saw that, and donated to that page. And then thought “Do you know what, I’d love to do this for some local young people where I live.” And I love PeckhamPlex, I go there all the time, and I contacted them about hiring the cinema, and how much it would be. And then it sort of went a bit crazy, which was brilliant.
People seemed really keen to help out, and also there seems to be a lot of demand for it.
Hasn’t Black Panther become the most pre-booked Marvel film yet?
I heard that, yeah. In the States the pre-book – it beat all the other Marvel films. And that’s incredible. It just goes to show how much of a demand there is for a film like this.
There are some Brits as well in there, so it’s quite good as well to see. You can see some British actors go and do good in such a big film like this.
Letitia Wright and Daniel Kaluuya are in it, aren’t they?
Yeah, exactly. And Letitia, I tweeted her about it and she’s retweeted and it just caused a load more people to know about this campaign.
Woke up overwhelmed by your generosity peeps. Thanks for donating.— Jade Anouka (@JadeAnouka) January 26, 2018
Now need to get more charities involved so we can get the cinema packed out with young people in SE London.
Spread the word, get in touch.#BlackPantherPeckhamhttps://t.co/Gk9Amtokpy
I noticed quite a few well-known actors contributing and commenting. Has it been nice to have that support?
Really great to have that support. I think people really understand it as an actor. You know we grew up watching films, and we want that for the young people coming up today as well. Especially to see positive representation. It’s good.
So, how are you finding the kids for the screening?
I am searching for and finding local charities, basically, that deal with young people over the age of 12, because it’s a 12A.
Twitter’s been amazing – I put it out and a lot of people have recommended charities that they know, or have worked with, or have used in the past. And I’ve then been e-mailing, and contacting people there. And they’ve sort of asked how many they can get, and we’ve sort of gone from there.
Does the campaign have an end date?
There isn’t an end date, but the screening is booked for the beginning of March. I think any extra money will go back into charities, local charities that help young people in the area. So I’m gonna leave it open until the screening I think.
What do you think is the significance of Black Panther? “Pushing boundaries and breaking glass ceilings,” you’ve said here
It’s great to see a superhero film which has black people at the front of it. That doesn’t happen that often. And I think it’s going to be just really inspiring for some young people to see themselves reflected onscreen.
And also, from what I know of the story and of the characters, there are some very strong female characters there – I believe that in Wakanda, the security is all female, great warriors. Just characters like this that we don’t see on screen, especially not in in big blockbusters.
So for it to be a Marvel film, I think a lot of people want to see it. And I think it’s good to see that, and to see that in a positive light and to be part of that. And I think if you were to be a young person and you weren’t able to go and see this film, I think that’d be a shame.
. @letitiawright I’m raising money to send 100 young people in South East London, who might not otherwise be able, to a see a screening of Black Panther for free.— Jade Anouka (@JadeAnouka) January 25, 2018
Would love if you could share this link and do contact me if you’d like to help/know more. https://t.co/NBuOVoPx5e
Do you think Black Panther will spark off more films that will give this representation?
I mean that would be cool, wouldn’t it? I don’t know how that works. But it would be great! I mean the demand for this film I think goes to show that there needs to be more.
Well, thanks for chatting to me Jade – any last thoughts?
Keep donating! It’s all gonna go to good causes, and it’s going to really help make these kids have a really special afternoon at the cinema.
Black Panther will be released in UK cinemas on the 12th February