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South Bend students get early screening of Black Panther

WSBT 22

Marvel Studios' highly anticipated film Black Panther hits theaters this weekend.

Some local movie fans are getting a sneak peek at the film Wednesday night.

There's a lot buzz surrounding this film, critics are calling it a masterpiece and some revolutionary.

Experts say the release of Black Panther is a defining cultural moment. It’s Marvel Studio's first movie starring a black superhero with a predominately black cast.

For some students at South Bend Schools it's about time.

Washington High School students, like senior Malachi O'Neal, say there's finally someone in a big blockbuster who looks like him.

"I was very geeked to see it and now I’m even more excited and pumped up to see it today,” said O’Neal.

South Bend School Officials say some students don't often get to go to movies, which explains this special screening. Some teens couldn't contain their excitement.

"When you see that from our children, from our young men, that type of excitement. I tell you, it makes every ounce of energy that went into this worth wild,” said Director of African-American Parent and Student Services, Nathan Boyd.

Dr. Jacquetta Page, a Professor of Africana Studies at Notre Dame, says mainstream films claim to have universal stories that effect everyone but people of color are not often the leads characters.

Dr. Page says in Black Panther we get to see black people in a very positive way..

"I think they're going to be able to see Africana people at their best. Not as problems, not as people who need to be saved, but as people who have answers and resources,” said Dr. Page.

For O'Neal the movie represents change.

"I didn't really believe it because I’ve never been to see a movie two days before it came out and I go to see a lot of movies. To go and see it today, yeah I was very emotional and I’m very blessed for this opportunity,” said O’Neal.

The screening was organized by Lexus dealership owner Perry Watson the third.

Nearly 300 people have been invited to the early show. About 60 of are South Bend School students.

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