Welcome to Wakanda: Local Leaders Host Black Panther Screenings, Celebrations

Welcome to Wakanda: Local Leaders Host Black Panther Screenings, Celebrations

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The long anticipated release of Marvel’s Black Panther is now just a couple of weeks away and with the first Marvel film with a Black lead — and nearly all-Black cast — selling more advance tickets in its first 24 hours than any other Marvel movie, it’s safe to say theaters around the world will be filled the weekend of February 16.

Madison theaters will be no exception, with several local leaders and organizations hosting private screenings for the film.

Brandi Grayson will host a private screening of the film with a “cosplay spin” on Feb 15 at the Marcus Palace Cinema in Sun Prairie.

“When they first released the trailer for Black Panther it was just so Black, the whole cast was Black and not only were the main characters Black, they were dark skinned, which was revolutionary in itself,” Grayson told Madison365.

The representation in the film inspired Grayson to create a Black-only space for the people to enjoy the film.

“Having Black people represented in such a powerful way, it was like, we have to support this and not only do we have to support it, we have to ensure that we can do that in a Black-only space,” she said. “In the context of white supremacist racism, Black people creating their own space within white space is powerful.”

Grayson is encouraging attendees to dress in “Black Panther/Marvel gear and African garb” for the screening.

“We want to not only take up the space with our Black bodies but take up the space with our Black creative culture, we want people to just smell the shea butters and coconut oil,” she said.

The film is set to start at 7 pm, but Grayson will be hosting games and festivities starting an hour before showtime, including raffles for a chance to win products from Cocoa Bean & Co and a cake from Sweets by Sweet.

In addition to Grayson’s screening, UW-Madison’s Black Culture Center will also host a screening at the same time and location for free as a part of the university’s Black History Month events. The university’s screening will be followed by a discussion and Grayson has opened her pre-movie activities to those attending through the university.

At the moment, both screenings are at capacity, but if you can wait a day, Sabrina “HeyMiss Progress” Madison is also hosting a screening for the film the very next day.

Madison and her son got the idea to host a screening in October, but subsequently got pulled away from the planning of it to focus on opening the Progress Center for Black Women.

It wasn’t until another local organizer, Tanisha Garner, tagged Madison in a Facebook post about screening for the film that the planning resumed.

“We wanted to do a Black Panther private screening so we can just kind of be ourselves, be loud, and have fun with a like-minded group,” Madison said.

Madison’s screening will also be at Marcus Palace Cinema and and attendees are also encouraged to cosplay for a #NightOutInWakanda.

There will be prizes for the Best Dressed Individual, Best Dressed Family, and Best Dressed Group of three or more friends.

Tickets are still available and can be picked up from Madison Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5p.m. at her office in the Urban League of Greater Madison, 2222 S. Park Street.

Written by Robert Chappell

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