Community leaders emphasize importance of 'Black Panther' movie

Community leaders emphasize importance of 'Black Panther' movie
Dr. Michael Jones says 'Black Panther' will be a chance to bring the community together. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In a week, 200 seats will be filled at the Bowtie Cinemas for a private showing of Marvel's much anticipated 'Black Panther' movie.

Dr. Michael Jones and the Village of Faith Ministries bought out the theater for the showing - a chance to bring the community together for an even greater meaning.

"The reason why it's important, is the obvious: you have an entire African-American leading cast, and that doesn't happen every year," explained Dr. Jones. "Especially to see positive African-American role models and images."

Dr. Jones and Village of Faith started an everyday hero challenge on social media, charging the community to look out for one another and perform acts of kindness. That is how they decided who would get one of the 200 tickets to see the movie on Feb. 15.

"If you have the Black Panther making a difference, we can too," explained Jones.

You could call it a twist on the growing 'Black Panther Challenge,' aimed at giving young people a chance to see the movie, in order to see a reflection of themselves. It is happening all over the country, with community leaders, like Dr. Jones, giving and raising money to take groups to see the movie.

"This movie represents that people of color, and also black men, can be viewed as superheroes and in a positive way," said Nickolas Spears.

The doctoral student also teaches Bible study at Randolph Community Center, so he and his wife decided to pay forward the kindness shown to them by the community, through giving kids an opportunity to see Black Panther.

In just two days, Spears has almost raised his fundraising goal to take 16 kids and two chaperones to the movie. He says the first 16 children to turn in permission slips get the slots to see the movie.

"I think about how this is going to be impactful for their future, in terms of, 'you can be anything, you can do anything,'" said Spears.

More than just the action on the big screen, before it's premiere, Black Panther is making a difference.

"It's just seeing people get excited about anything that can give you a little ray of hope," said Dr. Jones.

Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.