Actor Chadwick Boseman at the Los Angeles World Premiere of Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER at Dolby Theatre on January 29, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
YPSILANTI, Mich. (WJBK) - "Black Panther" is breaking new ground in the superhero genre. A black actor is in the leading role, and the rest of the cast is predominately black as well. Efforts are growing to make sure every kid who wants to see it can afford a ticket.
One of those efforts for Black youth is happening right here in Michigan.
Jermaine Dickerson's organization, Hero Nation Ypsilanti, is raising money to take nearly 150 students from Ypsilanti Community High School to see "Black Panther" when it hits theaters later this month.
"I don't think I can recall the last time I saw a film that featured Africa outside of the impoverished or white-saver context," Dickerson says.
Dickerson says there's a reason why he believes this movie and its action heroes can help revolutionize someone's life.
"Fiction has this ability to empower in some very interesting ways, and it has lifesaving capabilities," he says. So far, Dickerson's initiative has raised a little more than $10,000 to help students see the movie.
"Our reaction was, we went ballistic," says student Maximilian Harper.
"Movie tickets are really expensive nowadays," says Deahja Tigner.
Ypsilanti High School principal Corey Gildersleeve believes it's an opportunity of a lifetime.
"The opportunity to have them go and experience this through these wonderful donations we have been so fortunate to get is going to be great for our students, and we're looking forward to them getting to enjoy this experience," he says.
Dickerson says he knows all about being inspired by a superhero, because he, himself, was inspired by Superman.
"I've been inspired by him all my life," he says.
Money raised through Dickerson's program will pay for the kids' movie tickets, snacks and a special surprise for every student. But Dickerson says the real mission is to get these students inspired.
If you would like to donate, go to https://www.youcaring.com/heronation-1060613.
"Black Panther" hits theaters on Friday, February 16, 2018.