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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Filmmaker Explains Why Marvel’s “Black Panther” is a Cultural Movement For Hollywood

By Noell Saunders

With a record-breaking earning of more than $700 million worldwide so far, "Black Panther" is certainly making an impressive mark in the history of filmmaking. But, what's more significant is how the film has created a cultural movement that could inspire generations to come.

"Black Panther," which features a predominately African American cast, is not only breaking stereotypes associated with culture appropriation, it exemplifies the unifying message behind what James Brown once said, "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud."

"We now have a seat at the table," said Monty Ross, a filmmaker and adjunct instructor at Old Dominion University. "Black Panther" marks a milestone in black culture's impact on Hollywood."

Since its release on Feb 16., "Black Panther" moviegoers are literally taking their pride inside the theater, dressing in African attire and even performing African dances with drums during the previews.

Actor, Chadwick Boseman who plays the main character T'Challa (Black Panther), king of the fictional, technologically-advanced African country of Wakanda, is deemed a symbol of hope in rewriting Hollywood's norms around racial representation. T'Challa was the first black superhero in mainstream comics, making his debut in 1966.

There have been superhero movies starring African Americans, such as Wesley Snipes in the "Blade" films, and Will Smith in "Hancock," but Ross said "Black Panther," in particular, is tapping into pent-up demand.

"Due to the climate in our society right now, the timeliness to exploit the film to reach its highest benefits couldn't come at a better time," he said. "The movie is definitely what many, especially African American communities, have waited to see on the big screen for a long time."

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