Yes, Black Panther’s Wakanda isn’t real — technically. But life continues to mimic art, as the film inspires more real-world activism tackling the film’s underlying themes of black empowerment.
To celebrate the Marvel movie’s unprecedented, record-breaking box office success, Disney is donating $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. According to a press release, the organization is dedicated to supporting young people in STEM, with a specific focus on underserved communities.
“It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film,” Disney CEO Robert A. Iger said in a statement. “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.”
Black Panther is set in the fictional African country of Wakanda, the most technologically-advanced nation in the world that gets its power from vibranium. It was already garnering high praise for featuring STEM role models like Shuri, the brilliant teenager responsible for Wakanda’s tech innovations.
Mimicking a scene from the movie, Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use the grant to build STEM Centers of Innovation in places like Oakland, Harlem, and Atlanta. Their curriculum allows kids to explore their interest in STEM through state-of-the-art technology like 3-D printers and robotics.
So, presumably, we can expect our future Black Panther suits to be 3-D printable.
This isn’t the only example of public action inspired by Black Panther, either. Black Lives Matter activists began a #WakandaTheVote movement, which helped register voters at screenings of the movie.
We know many real-world Shuris are out there — and they won’t need vibranium to change the world.