By: Zach Fulwood
The official release of the much anticipated Black Panther movie is finally here. The movie that Black people and “Marvel heads” alike have been clamoring for is now in theaters for our enjoyment. There’s only one problem. Some people don’t want us to enjoy it.
You see, Black Panther is a movie that has an entirely Black cast, a Black director, and is musically curated by Black musicians. It’s also expected to break box office records and bring in over $150 million on its opening weekend and Chaz Gormley wants a piece of that action.
Gormley has created an online petition that calls for Marvel Studios and its parent company, The Walt Disney Company to “agree to set aside 25% of their worldwide profit to be allocated for investment in black communities, and in programs within these communities that focus on S.T.E.M.”
Gormley’s reasoning for the petition is that both Marvel and Walt Disney purposefully targeted the Black community in its marketing campaigns with the expectation that they could count on the Black dollar when the movie came out. Gormley cites the playing of Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” playing in the background of the film’s trailer and the fact that the movie debuts during Black History Month as clear examples for the merit of his petition.
Now, I can’t speak for everybody but I do know this petition will not be signed by me. First of all, I don’t believe any movie studio is responsible for giving back to any community, regardless of what race of people make up a particular movie. Secondly, that same cast of Black people and Black director have to be paid the amount that they signed for, so asking them to now take a significant pay cut just for the benefit of Black people isn’t remotely fair. That’s like someone coming to your job and demanding you give 5% of your salary to their charity.
Look, I get the idea that Chaz is going for but Black Panther is not the first movie with a Black lead and a Black director. It’s not the first to target Black people in marketing campaigns. It’s not the first one to have trailers shown on BET and have Black artists on the soundtrack. I didn’t see any petitions for those movie studios to give some of their earnings to the Black community. So why this one?