As big a blockbuster as Black Panther was last when it premiered last February, it was an even bigger moment for over 70,000 underserved kids who got to see it for free, thanks to Frederick T. Joseph and the #BlackPantherChallenge.
Joseph initially created the hashtag and accompanying GoFundMe with the modest goal of raising 10,000 dollars for the Harlem’s Children Zone (and later, the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem). Ultimately, his good works set off a chain reaction of philanthropy that raised nearly $1,000,000 across the country.
As Joseph, a 2018 Root 100 honoree and CEO of the creative marketing agency We Have Stories, teased when The Glow Up grabbed a few moments with him last summer, he now has a new mission. The fundraising hero has now launched the #CaptainMarvelChallenge. His goal? To rent out movie theaters for groups of girls from Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles to see the next Marvel blockbuster, the female-focused Captain Marvel. As written in a statement obtained by The Glow Up:
Last year, we created a magical moment in time for children around the world through the Black Panther Challenge. Supporters understood the importance of reinforcing positive representation in media for marginalized groups and thanks to many you, over 73,000 children were able to see Black Panther for free.
As important as the film was for representation, it was one film and one moment, and there is still work to be done. Which is why we’ve launched the Captain Marvel Challenge fundraiser. An effort to take young women from Girls Inc. LA to see Marvel Studios’ first woman-led film — Captain Marvel. To date, the campaign has raised over $7,000, but we still have work to do!
In case you’re wondering why Joseph chose Captain Marvel for his next fundraiser, the campaign’s GoFundMe page outlines several fun facts for blerds, feminists and basic film fans alike:
● Captain Marvel is Marvel Studio’s first woman led film
● She will be the most powerful superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
● The story adds new components to open doors for the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe
● Unlike many female characters, her story doesn’t rely on romance and other typical woman character arcs
● There are multiple female characters in the film that enforce diversity of women in race, careers, and talents
● The film is co-directed and scored by women
● The film releases on International Woman’s Day during Women’s History Month
Umm...yeah, that’s dope. The campaign is already trending for Girls Inc. LA, which supports girls in Title I schools in South Los Angeles, Watts and Compton. But frankly, we’re hoping it catches fire like its predecessor, and goes nationwide. Because if the success of 2017's Wonder Woman was any indication, girls (and women, too) are craving narratives that center dynamic, powerful women—because we can be superheroes, too!