‘Wakanda forever’: Local CEO takes 450 Houston students to see Black Panther at AMC

HOUSTON - Marvel's Black Panther boasted $800 million worldwide in its first two weeks in theaters, but as hard as it is to believe, some kids in Houston still haven’t seen the movie yet. For many, that changed on Friday.

“At a panel last week, I spoke to these students at UH, and I asked 450 of these students, how many of them have actually seen the movie? Only three had," said Warren Broadnax, CEO of She's Happy Hair and Executive Director of the She's Happy Hair Foundation.

So Broadnax organized to have 450 students from five local high schools -- Yates, Booker T. Washington, Madison and North Forest --to experience the cultural phenomenon all together at the AMC Fountains Theater in Stafford.

“I think this movie means a lot. It means the showing power of the black dollar, showing that black lives actually do matter in Hollywood and period, so I think for these kids they have to see it. They have to understand,” said Broadnax.

And there are important scholastic implications, too.

“At North Forest, these are our outstanding students right now. They feel such an honor to be able to participate in this film to learn more about what goes on in the industry and maybe looking at doing something like that for college. We really are a college-focused campus,” said Lashawn Porter, assistant principal.

That sentiment was echoed in a personalized video message to the students from Angela Bassett, who plays Black Panther’s mother, "Queen Ramonda."

“There are so many opportunities out there for you, don’t let anyone re-route your journey to success,” Bassett said.

And as fun as it was to catch a movie on a school day, the students understood the gravity of what the film has accomplished.

“A lot of superhero movies, they don’t have a lot of black people that are main characters. All of them are kinda like background people they don’t really get a lot of camera time, and this one is all African Americans and I think that’s really, really cool,” said Dinesty Moore.

Each student also received a “Wakanda Forever” t-shirt, a phrase from the film that’s taken on additional meaning with all its success.

“I think it means a little something more now, in the community, it’s like a word of unity you know what’s going on. It has a deeper meaning at this point,” said Broadnax.