At this point everyone in Oakland has had a chance to catch Black Panther, right? In case you haven’t, but plan on doing so, I should note everything below in this post is a spoiler for the final Oakland-based scene of the film. Okay?
Black Panther is breaking all sorts of records and that means plenty of dollar bills for the Walt Disney Company. According to ComingSoon.net, the House of Mouse has decided to put some of that money back into the communities that have no doubt helped make Black Panther one of the most successful superhero films ever.
Disney plans to donate $1 million to the Boys and Girls Club of America to help expand the organizations STEM programs. Part of that investment includes helping to establish an Oakland-based STEM Center of Innovation. The move is a clear nod to the film’s ending where Wakanda starts making contact with the rest of the world by establishing a science center in Oakland. T’Challa’s wicked smart sister, Shuri, is tapped to lead the science outreach initiative.
The majority of the film takes place in the fictional nation of Wakanda, but it is an Oakland film at heart. The Bay Area city is the birthplace of director Ryan Coogler who made his Hollywood debut with the critically-acclaimed indie film Fruitvale Station. That film told the story of Oscar Grant who on New Year’s Eve 2009 was shot in the back and murdered by BART police.
In a statement, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger noted that Black Panther is “sparking discussion, inspiring people young and old, and breaking down age-old industry myths.”
Disney’s money will additionally support STEM programs in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Harlem, Hartford, Memphis, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Watts.