Black Panther can’t be touched since the movie obliterated box office records for two consecutive weeks. Whether it’s a love for everything Marvel or the portrayal of strong black characters, there was something for everyone, but what’s most fascinating is the technologically-advanced city of Wakanda.
Inspired by the movie, the Walt Disney Company is donating a one-time grant of $1 million to Boys & Girls Club of America in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Harlem, Hartford, Memphis, New Orleans, Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Watts, Okayplayer reports. The grant will help expand programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and establish Centers of Innovation.
The fictional city sparked a necessary conversation about the underrepresentation of black and Latino people in the STEM industry. A 2018 Pew Research Center study finds black and Latino people make up nine percent and seven percent in STEM occupations, respectively.
“Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is a masterpiece of movie making and has become an instant cultural phenomenon, sparking discussion, inspiring people young and old, and breaking down age-old industry myths,” Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of Disney, said in a press release. “It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film, so it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”
The technological advances were spearheaded by Black Panther T’Challa’s little sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. The rising actress told the Huffington Post by playing Shuri, she hoped to open doors for little black and brown girls to feel comfortable going after their STEM dreams.
“I hope it inspires them and I hope it does [so] positively,” Wright said. “I hope it sparks the next person.”