In North Carolina, one teacher proved that not all superheroes wear capes. High school English teacher Jahara Davis teaches at Hillside High School and wants her students (who are 98.1% POC) to feel seen and represented, which is why she secured them an early viewing of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The teacher rented out a local AMC theater and took all of her classes to see the film for free. She told a local news station that representation is important, and so it was important to her that all of her students got to see this film. “Not only do I allow them to see themselves in the books that they read, but I make sure that they see themselves in the movies that we can see,” she said.
Her students were excited about this opportunity. One student, Trinity Richardson, said, “Professor Davis has always supported me like this. She’s like my second mom.” Richardson said that the movie’s main draw is not the superheroes but the representation. “We’re all very different, and going to Hillside, we’re all very different. It’s good to see that kind of representation,” she explained.
Davis added, “I want them to see that in Black Panther, where there are so many different cultures and tribes represented, I want them to know that they are also represented, no matter where they are.”
The film, which picks up after King T’Challa’s death, opens with the people of Wakanda grieving their lost king. It quickly picks up the pace and explores topics like whether it is right to be forced to share natural resources with the world or whether a nation is just to keep the resources to itself. According to the official synopsis, “Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye, and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with Nakia and Everett Ross to forge a new path for their beloved kingdom.”
This is a much different path than the franchise likely was intended to take, but following the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. The team had to shift focus after it was decided he would not be recast. The writers and producers chose to honor Boseman by allowing the story to go on without him rather than replacing him.