‘They Can Be Superheroes’: Oakland Students in STEM Programs Attend Red Carpet Screening of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — Oakland students involved with several nonprofits were at the Grand Lake Theater for Wednesday’s screening of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” complete with red carpet.

The screening was ahead of the film’s national theatrical debut and was one of several community screenings organized by Disney across the country to make the film accessible to the community.

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“The movie ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is important to me personally because representation, of course, but on a deeper level it’s about representation and providing young people with the understanding that they can be whoever they are. ‘they want,” said Kevin Butler, a genius. fellow educator with The Hidden Genius Project. “They can be superheroes if they want to.”

Oakland has a special connection to the film. It was featured in the original Black Panther movie, and director Ryan Coogler hails from Oakland. Her father would have been at the screening.

The Hidden Genius Project and Girls who Code are among organizations providing science, technology, engineering, math and arts education to children from historically underrepresented communities who have received $1 million in Disney grants.

RELATED: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Explores Future Latinos, Queer Representation

The Oakland-based Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors black male students in tech creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

Girls who Code works to close the gender gap in technology in K-12 classrooms and increases exposure for women and other underrepresented minorities in technology.

Original star Chadwick Boseman did not live to make the sequel, passing away aged 43 from cancer in 2020.

But her spirit is part of the film, which also shines a light on the women of Wakanda.

VIDEO: ‘Wakanda Forever’ co-stars pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman at premiere

“Dazzling,” said student Naomi Hussein. “It was a success… It was like a kind of twist at the end.”

ABC7 Presenter Julian Glover MC’d the screening.

Nearly 25,000 students discover the film before its large-scale release.

These efforts are part of Disney Future Storytellers. This is an initiative to empower the next generation of diverse creators and innovators.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.

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