ArkLaTex man coordinates to send over 600 kids to Black Panther showing
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The movie "Black Panther" has already broken many records, and many of the movie's fans are leaving theaters feeling empowered, including an ArkLaTex native who made an appearance in the film.
It's been a week since "Black Panther" splashed onto movie screens, but it has left a lasting impression on many who have seen it. The movie has made a huge splash globally, shattering records, and raking in more than $241 million in the first four days in theaters.
"It's the kind of thing you want to experience more than once. And I want them to know that Wakanda can be right here in Shreveport," said Ryan Williams, who is coordinating an effort to send students in Shreveport to see the hit movie. "It's a piece of you, it's what's inside of you."
Williams was watching the news before the hit movie debuted, and saw that many people were raising money for children to be able to go see the movie.
He knew he wanted to make that happen in Shreveport.
"I made a post about wanting to send kids to the movies or buy out a couple of theaters," Williams said. "And I reached out, and they basically just said hey, listen we got your back."
The community responded. He's raised nearly enough money to send 601 kids from 6 different elementary schools and one high school in Shreveport to see the movie.
"Take those things and inspire yourself and empower yourself to reach your dreams," Williams said. "Dreams are free, have as many dreams as you want to. I want these young people to say - hey I can be a king."
"It's a real big sense of pride because, like I said, we knew it would be big, cause like I said, we knew it would be big, but the way it's blown up, it's blown us all away, and it's not just here, it's in other countries too," said Tim Smith.
Tim Smith is from Benton and played a role in this major box office hit. He was a stunt performer in one of the pivotal scenes. We told him about the coordinated effort to send more than 600 kids to see the film.
"When I was a young black kid, Superman was my hero, Batman was my hero, but now Spiderman - but now little black kids can look at "Black Panther" and be like, hey that's a big superhero and I look like him, and that's why it's so exciting," Smith said. And whoever is taking these kids to see it, I want to shake his hand one day, that's awesome."
Williams says he wants the kids to take something away from this experience.
"It's showing kids that hey somebody cared enough about me to buy me a movie ticket, somebody cared enough about me that I have this experience," Williams said. "I don't want people to get wrapped up in the mindset that this is just a movie, no it's not just a movie. This is an experience that goes along with the movie that carries people on and on and on."
The students will go to the movie the morning of Tuesday, February 27. Williams is still trying to raise the rest of the money to cover renting out several theaters for the children.
If you'd like to help out, contact Ryan Williams at (318) 771-9806 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Copyright 2018 KSLA. All rights reserved.