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I Took 7th Graders to See ‘Black Panther.’ Here’s What They Said. | New York Times "The film makes me want to start my own tribe and make my own inventions to help the world. It also makes me want to make my own Panther outfit." — Gabriela Myles

Black Panther, African American Cinema, African American Movies, Black Movies, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN



Seven seventh graders arrived at the theater, excited. There were braces and glasses, sneakers and hoodies, teasing and giggles — all the trappings of tweens. They clapped, whispered, squirmed and guffawed. They quite literally sat on the edge of their seats.

I had invited a handful of 12-year-olds from P.S. 282 in Brooklyn to an early screening of “Black Panther” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (Disney donated the tickets and BAM provided a place to talk afterward.)

In 23 years as an educator specializing in the relationships of law, society and entertainment in the construction of racial norms and beliefs, I had been keenly following the hype surrounding “Black Panther” and the argument that the story of an African superhero would benefit black children’s self-esteem. There was even the #BlackPantherChallenge and there were crowdfunding campaigns to send youngsters around the country to see the movie.

But in all the talk, a crucial element was missing: the voices of black children. What did they actually think of the film, and how did it make them feel?


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KOLUMN Magazine celebrates the lives of People of Color by giving our world texture.

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