Local high school basketball team to see early screening of 'Black Panther'

Decades after its comic book debut, Marvel’s Black Panther is coming to life on the big screen and for some it’s much more than a movie, it’s a movement. 

The film is about a fearless African prince who leads one of the most advanced countries in the world. Starring a black superhero and an almost entirely black cast, it’s giving many children and teenagers a superhero that they can relate to. 

Minneapolis North High’s varsity basketball coach Larry McKenzie recognized the influence “Black Panther” could have on his basketball team. That’s why he helped organized a special fundraiser that will allow his team to see “Black Panther” before its Friday premier. 

“It’s about a superhero and I just feel like one of the challenges in our community all too often is that we don’t have a lot of heroes,” McKenzie said. “One of the things I say oftentimes is you can’t be what you don’t see. So I think it’s important for our kids to see people like themselves doing great things.”

Seeing positive images of black characters has inspired many students at North High. 

“I’m just ready to see it, to sit there and be engaged in the movie and see what message is behind it,” said North High student Da'Koi Hines. 

With a record-breaking number of tickets sold in advance, North High senior O’Shey Cole is extremely grateful for the opportunity he and his basketball teammates have to watch the movie. 

“If you have the opportunity to go watch it, you don’t want to miss it,” Cole said. 

Some are calling the film a phenomenon. Coach McKenzie hopes that the movie leads to a turning point in pop culture. 

“I’m hoping that the success of this movie and the community coming out to support it, that we’ll see more movies like this,” McKenzie said.