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Octavia Spencer Wants to Buy Out a Movie Theater in Mississippi so Kids Can “See Themselves” In Black Panther

black panther octavia spencer

Last year, Octavia Spencer bought out a theater in Baldwin Hills, California–a primarily black neighborhood–for a showing of Hidden Figures. For children to have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the entertainment they consume is so important, but not all kids have equal access to luxuries like movie tickets. As Spencer said then, “My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings. So, I’m honoring her and all single parents this #mlkweekend.”

Now, Spencer is doing it again, this time announcing plans to rent out a theater in Mississippi (where she’ll happen to be on opening day) for Black Panther. She wrote on Instagram, “I think I will buy out a theatre in an underserved community there to ensure that all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero.”

The ticket sales for Black Panther have been setting records, but it’s essential to make sure all underrepresented children have the opportunity to, as Spencer puts it, “see themselves as a superhero.” Not only is this movie being heralded by many as Marvel’s best, but its importance in terms of representation cannot be overstated. Early reactions have praised it for its celebration of blackness.

Clarkisha Kent of The Root wrote,

Black Panther remains socially and culturally relevant because it imagines a world where black people continually triumph over the influences of capitalism, Western imperialism and white supremacy.

Part of the reason I’m so hype for Black Panther is that it’s bound to explore the existence of black people in the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond America (and the small group of them in Asgard) and in a way that isn’t colorblind.

Octavia Spencer’s dedication to making sure children have access to this movie is awesome. A crowdfunding campaign to send children in Harlem to see the movie recently went viral, raising more than four times its original $10,000 goal. (On top of that, Ellen Degeneres announced she’d cover the cost of the trip itself so that all those donations will go to the Boys & Girls Club Harlem’s newly founded Storytellers program, dedicated to teaching young people “to critically consume content and create their own stories.”)

If you search GoFundMe for “Black Panther,” there are tons of similar campaigns, so you can hopefully find (or start!) one near you.

(image: screen cap, trailer)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.