‘They can be superheroes’: Oakland students in STEM programs attend red carpet screening of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

OAKLAND, California — Oakland students, who are involved in several non-profit organizations, attended a red carpet show at the Grand Lake Theater for Wednesday’s screening of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

The screening preceded the film’s national theater debut and was one of the community screenings hosted by Disney across the country to bring the film to the community.

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“The film ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is personally important to me because of course it’s representational, but on a deeper level it’s about representation and giving young people an understanding that they can be whatever they want,” he said Kevin Butler, a fellow Genie at 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 is from Oakland. According to reports, his father was at the screening.

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

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Based in Oakland, the Hidden Genius Project trains and mentores black male students in technology development, entrepreneurship and leadership skills.

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

Original star Chadwick Boseman died in 2020 at the age of 43 from cancer.

But his spirit is part of the film, which also highlights the women of Wakanda.

VIDEO: ‘Wakanda Forever’ Co-Stars Pay Tribute to Chadwick Boseman at Premiere

“Overwhelmed,” said student Naomi Hussein. “It was a hit … It was kind of like a plot twist at the end.”

ABC7 presenter Julian Glover hosted the screening.

Nearly 25,000 schoolchildren can experience the film ahead of its wide release.

This effort is part of Disney Future Storytellers. It is an initiative aimed at empowering the next generation of diverse creators and innovators.

Disney is ABC7’s parent company.

If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

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https://6abc.com/black-panther-wakanda-forever-oakland-screening-red-carpet/12438189/ ‘They can be superheroes’: Oakland students in STEM programs attend red carpet screening of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Alley Einstein

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