The site, created by New York resident Frederick Joseph offers resources for kids, young adults, and adults to express their ideas about Black Panther.
For young kids (K-5), the site lets users download free coloring sheets for T’Challa, Shuri, and “Warrior,” which looks mostly like Lupita Nyong’o character, Nakia, in the Dora Milaje armor. Young adults (grades 6-9) can also partake in a worksheet that teaches them how to write a movie review with questions like what scene would they add or change, and if they learned anything new from the film.
As for the high schoolers and above, the site offers short essay prompts to explore questions like “What do you think will happen if Wakanda opens it borders and assists other countries?”, “Are there any parallels in history?”, and “Is it the responsibility of Wakanda to aid other countries?” There’s also a lesson on coltan, a metal found in the Congo that’s used in PlayStations, cell phones, and more that’s similar to Wakanda’s vibranium.
The site also allows visitors to track crowdfunding initiatives across the country that are raising money for kids to see Black Panther. According to Joseph’s GoFundMe page, they’ve raised over $400,000 so far over 400 different GoFundMe initiatives.
Check out the site here.
Afrofuturism for Wakanda and Beyond: Resources for Parents
“Black Panther,” the first Marvel Universe blockbuster featuring a black superhero and an almost entirely black cast, has been breaking box office records since its theater release last week. But the historic film is also making a splash in a much smaller venue ― the classroom.
Several ingenious teachers have been using “Black Panther” to get kids excited about school and about black history, tapping into Wakanda’s creative spirit to develop worksheets, reading lists and lessons about African cultures.
Tina Bailey, an instructor from Ohio’s Dayton Leadership Academies, got her students ready for class this Tuesday by wearing a “Black Panther” mask and greeting each of them with a modified version of a handshake from the movie.
Watch Bailey build bridges with her students below.
Students who follow Tess Raser’s lesson plan will learn about the history and lasting effects of colonialism in Africa, the legacy of the Transatlantic slave trade and global anti-blackness. The 28-year-old teacher’s ambitious curriculum also helps students understand the ways in which slavery is connected to the modern-day prison industrial complex in the U.S.
Students are introduced to Afrofuturism, a genre that reimagines sci-fi and fantasy culture from a black lens. Raser created worksheets that match the costumes that “Black Panther” actors wore to the traditional clothing of specific African tribes or cultures.
Creators of the “Black Panther Challenge,” an initiative that is helping thousands of black children see the film for free, have put together a website with resources for parents and teachers interested in adding an educational element to their viewing experience. The website features reading lists, worksheets, and other activities for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade.
We all know the story of black pain and trauma. It is told to us over and over again, from K-12 to Hollywood. We’ve been the enslaved in a still constant fight to overcome white supremacy. We’ve been the strange fruits hanging from trees and the viral videos of countless shootings of unarmed citizens.
As important as this truth about the black experience is, it is not us in totality. We were also kings and queens and royalty in Africa. We invented products and created art that made America what it is today. Visibility and representation must mean showing the losses and the wins, the bad and the good, and, most importantly, blackness existing in all spaces, real and fantasy.
This is why “Black Panther” is “so important, and why I began the Black Panther Challenge to crowdfund money for young students to go to the movie, ensuring that our children get to see themselves as heroes, too.
The world of “Black Panther” offers a rare opportunity for black children to see characters in a fantasy world who look like them, in a story that is not only black but depicts our lineage out of Africa. The film takes place in the fictional nation of Wakanda, an isolationist country that escaped the horrors and destruction of European colonialism to become the most technologically advanced place on Earth. The nation is ruled by a kind, emotional, multilayered black man, protected by a royal guard of brilliantly skilled black women. The very concept of Wakanda is steeped in Afrofuturism, and thus could not only spark conversations about what African nations might have been without white colonization, but what they can still become.
Many of us yearned for the chance to be Batman or Superman, but only if he was black. “Black Panther” gives our children the chance to dream those dreams. It combats comments like the president’s “shithole” countries, a sentiment shared by too many other people in America. Director Ryan Coogler, who also brought us the powerful “Fruitvale Station” and the triumphant “Creed,” tells a story painted in blackness. It is black folks telling a black narrative through a black lens.
Whether Marvel really thought about moving the needle on representation, I can’t say. What I can say is that we must take this moment and show the world why we deserve more like it.
Now, thanks to those supporting the #BlackPantherChallenge, thousands of children of all colors will be able to see the film. We have raised over $250,000 through more than 200 campaigns in multiple countries, becoming the largest overall GoFundMe campaign in the site’s history for an entertainment event or experience.
Many would say this is a success, but some see it differently. They have taken issue with the fact that the money, while spent predominantly for black children, is still serving white capitalistic gain. Many have lamented the lack of traction around other campaigns meant to help people in dire need. I hear these concerns, and they weigh on me as well.
We know the dangers of black visibility and representation becoming tokenized, symbols to assuage white guilt after years of wrongdoing while creating little change. We saw how then-President Barack Obama being the symbol of progress became more important than the actual systemic reforms needed to create it. I see that some of the same media outlets that have covered my “Black Panther” campaign ignored Colin Kaepernick’s successful “10 for 10” initiative to fund organizations working in oppressed communities. I’ve heard about Kortney Ziegler’s efforts to raise money and gain media traction for the app Appolition, which helps provide bail money for people who are incarcerated because they can’t pay. Things like this weigh on me as the #BlackPantherChallenge continues to grow.
But we must back efforts to tear down systems of oppression and support initiatives that bring black joy. Black children are so often instilled with the tools to survive, but when do they have the chance to live? When do we let them laugh and smile? It is important that we work on all our needs, understanding that support of one cause for good doesn’t diminish the greatness of other causes aimed at systemic change.
The “Black Panther” release and this challenge will come and go. Long after that, I hope the experience will continue to spark conversations and debates about representation, not only for black children, but for all children of color, women and the LGBTQ community. I plan on doing more to help these underrepresented groups amplify their voices.
For those of you who have either praised or criticized the “Black Panther” campaign, I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to actively support what you believe in, and if no one has created a way for you to do so, then create something. I challenge you to do something bigger than yourself. I challenge you to make a difference. We all deserve to smile.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this column mistakenly indicated Kortney Ziegler struggled to raise money and attention for the Appolition app.
Frederick Joseph is a marketing professional, philanthropist and media representation advocate. He is founder of the creative agency We Have Stories and creator of the #BlackPantherChallenge. He can be found on Twitter at @FredTJoseph.