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Seeing is believing: Halifax advocate fundraising for a free Black Panther movie night

Quentrel Provo is hoping to give 200 Black kids and teens the chance to see the new blockbuster and reflect on what it means to them.

Quentrel Provo in downtown Halifax in 2017.

Zane Woodford/Metro

Quentrel Provo in downtown Halifax in 2017.

Growing up, Quentrel Provo says he watched white superheroes like Spiderman and Batman, never knowing a powerful Black man filled the pages of Marvel comics.

As excitement swirled around the new Black Panther movie, the first mega blockbuster with a predominantly African American cast and director, Provo said he knew he wanted other young people to see themselves represented in a way he hadn’t.

The Stop the Violence founder has launched a GoFundMe page this week to fundraise $3,500 which would cover the cost of movie tickets for 200 local Black youth, renting a Cineplex theatre, and a small drink and popcorn for the kids and teens.

“That would definitely empower them and inspire them, especially with them being together in one room,” Provo said.

The fundraiser (which had reached $780 by Thursday afternoon) is one of many working to ensure young Black kids get to see the movie in many North American cities, including New York, Detroit, Edmonton and Los Angeles.

In the Marvel universe, T'Challa is the Black Panther who first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic in 1961. He is the righteous king of the African nation of Wakanda (a hidden technologically advanced country), an Avenger, and warrior.

“For the kids to see this, especially the young kids, it’s something special because you didn’t have that back in the day,” Provo said. “Especially … on this scale with Marvel, a multi-billion dollar company, it’s unprecedented.”

Provo said besides seeing the movie itself, there will be a discussion afterwards with the youth about how the movie made them feel.

Although Provo said he considered making the event open to parents and family, he knew it would be a really unique and powerful experience for the kids and teens (ranging from likely 18-years-old down to 8 or so) to have their own space.

“If I have like their mother or someone there, they’re not going to speak up after the movie, they’re not going to talk,” he said.

Ultimately, Provo said he hopes kids walk out of the theatre knowing “that they can do or be whatever they want to be.”

“A lot of them need to see things to believe it. A lot of them now believe that they can be the president because of Barak Obama and … you can be the prime minister of Canada if you just set your mind to it,” Provo said.

“Giving them that sense of hope, and letting them know that it doesn’t matter where you come from or where you’ve been at in life, that you can make it.”

The screening date hasn’t been set yet but will likely be in about two weeks, Provo said. He’s looking into bus transportation to and from the event, as well as bringing in other “inspiring” speakers for the discussion.

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