As I previously shared with the readers of Arts & Culture Connections in a blog about the “Black Panther Effect,” the film’s blockbuster success ($1-billion in 26 days) offers a template for using this medium to mobilize and engage the African American community. And with more than two years to plan, this can be an opportunity to build a foundation for a long-term relationship.
My daughter and I have already begun planning to create our own “Black Panther-2 Effect,” by hosting fundraisers to sponsor youth to see the film. Here are some of the steps we intend to employ:
- Set a goal of the number of young people we intend to sponsor, and the amount of money needed to be raised. The budget considerations will include transportation and snacks so that we are providing a total entertainment experience for these youth.
- Using social media, we will encourage our friends and network to commit to purchasing tickets for themselves, their families, and to sponsor either one youth or a multicultural group of youths.
- We will also reach out to organizations to begin making plans now to sponsor youth.
- We plan to identify a movie theater or several theaters where the film is likely to be screened and inquire about group ticket sales for opening weekend. We hope to engage the theater management in the planning—surely they’d love to have a sold-out opening weekend for any film!
- Once the film trailers are available, we’ll share them with our network to help build momentum.
- We also encourage everyone to create a Facebook fan page for their prospective, sponsored groups, posting film updates, pictures of the cast, costumes, etc., to generate excitement.
- We will reach out to local African clothing stores and designers to develop partnerships that will lead to the opening weekend of the film becoming a big celebration, featuring the wearing of articles of African clothing to continue the spirit of royalty embodied by the film. This will bring additional business to the neighborhood economy and make this event truly community-based.
- We will work with businesses and community groups to sponsor an event where youth can make their own article of African regalia, such as a mudcloth tie or a beautiful Gele, Moussor or Tukwi.
- We plan to post photos of sponsored youth (with permission, of course) on the fan page and after the screening they attend. Include their reactions, which encourages them to engage with the film and learn how to offer constructive feedback.
- Work with local community groups to sponsor community dialogues about Afrofuturism.
- Partner with community groups to sponsor voter-registration tables at all of the screenings. Any sponsored youth over 18 will be urged to register to vote at the theater.
- And we’ll be looking to mobilize local African drummers as part of the welcoming ceremony at the theaters.
More than providing financial support for the film (which will influence Hollywood to continue making more films about people of color), the goal of “Black Panther-2 Effect” is to create a community and network-wide opportunity to joyfully celebrate African and African-American culture, and to sponsor and engage youth.