Why One Man Wants These Kids To See ‘Black Panther’ And What He’s Doing To Make It Happen

"You can’t dream about becoming something unless you’ve seen it."

There's a massive amount of hype surrounding Marvel's upcoming Black Panther movie — and rightly so. While not everyone is lucky enough to afford to see the beauty of Wakanda at the cinema, one New York City resident has made sure that underprivileged children are able to see this diverse film on the big screen for the most profound reason.

"I knew that I wanted to do something for Black Panther because inclusion and representation are of the utmost importance to me," Frederick Joseph told A Plus. Joseph is the man behind the viral GoFundMe page you've probably seen trending everywhere, raising money for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem — and other clubs around the country — to see the Chadwick Boseman-starring flick. This, as you'll recall, is similar to how Chance the Rapper helped kids see Get Out, as well as how an inspiring teen and Octavia Spencer ensured that kids got to see Hidden Figures.

"I feel as though they are very honestly the fuel that drives dreams. You can't dream about becoming something unless you've seen it. You can't have a wild dream unless you believe in it," Joseph added. "So, for me, having a movie like Black Panther — where you have not only a Black superhero but a Black king who is guarded by an all-African female guard of the fiercest warriors in the country, in what's the most technically advanced place in the world — it's just a phenomenal story and it's important that kids see that and see themselves in that role."

Photo via Disney/Marvel Studios
Photo via Disney/Marvel Studios

Joseph, a 28-year-old marketing consultant, revealed he chose to give to the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem because of their "steadfast" dedication to doing great work for decades and for the fact that they're name is "synonymous" with helping underprivileged children — and, for the Harlem branch specifically, underprivileged children of color. 

"It's so important that these kids believe in themselves," Joseph explained, also calling out films like recent Pixar darling Coco, the upcoming female-fronted Captain Marvel, and 2017's smash hit Wonder Woman. Movies like these, he notes, help show children what is possible and what they can achieve. "It's not about someone telling you what you can be, it's about believing that you can be anything you want to be."

With the money raised — Joseph's GoFundMe has garnered more than $35,000 with an original goal of $10,000 — many underprivileged children in Harlem, as well as all around the nation, will get to see Black Panther. With the campaign going viral, Joseph was able to partner with GoFundMe for the #BlackPantherChallenge to spread the love (and money) around.

"Honestly, it's been a humbling experience," Joseph continued. "I'm so happy and overwhelmed by the support that I decided it was time to do something bigger — something that can affect even more communities on a national level. It's important that all these kids go and see the film and see other films that are coming out and see themselves represented there."

Photo via Disney/Marvel Studios
Photo via Disney/Marvel Studios

The first 10 accounts created with a unique link from Joseph's campaign will be given $100 from GoFundMe to start raising money for needy kids in their area, thereby spreading Joseph's idea and helping to keep the conversation around representation going all across the country.

As for the fact that Black Panther is more than a month away — it comes out nationwide on February 16 — and is already breaking records as the best-selling Marvel movie of all time in regards to pre-sale tickets, Joseph isn't surprised in the least. After all, we've seen similar things happen lately with diverse films like the aforementioned Hidden Figures and Get Out as well as Girls Trip, just to name a few.

"It's a moment in time, it truly is. Not just for representation and inclusion, but for showing that telling stories for underrepresented groups is not only important not just from the things I've been talking about but also as a money-making engine — and this showed it," Joseph added. "We come out and we support — this has been shown."

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