By Ryan Velez
Black Panther has been making big money for Disney over the last two weeks, and now, the company has seen fit to share the wealth, with CNN reporting that it is making a donation of $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in celebration of “Black Panther’s” financial success. The donation will support the organization’s youth STEM programs, according to a news release.
Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger said in a statement that it was “thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film.”
“It’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want,” he added. The Boys & Girls Club plans to use THE grant to establish new STEM centers to serve kids and teens, with a particular focus on Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington.
The centers give children access to hands-on technologies, including 3-D printers, robotics, and video production, according to the release. This $1 million is a drop in the bucket compared to all the money that was made from the film so far. The film has brought in $700 million worldwide since its release two weekends ago. Last weekend, it brought in $108 million in the United States, becoming only the fourth film ever to cross that mark in its second weekend.
At one point, there was a petition for Disney to donate a fourth of its profits to the Black community. Chaz Gormley, author of the petition, explained his reasoning as follows,
“as marginalized groups have become more vocal, corporations and their savvy public relations departments have turned to catering to these groups—to turn a profit— and [Black Panther] is no different.” Gormley cites a “ clever, well-manufactured marketing campaign Marvel Studios and their parent company The Walt Disney Company” that has specifically (and successfully) targeted the black community with advertisements. For starters, the movie is slated to be released in February, also known as Black History Month. Secondly, Gormley notes that Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” “which speaks to a larger issue of the monetization of ‘wokeness,’” played in the background of an initial Black Panther trailer. Gormley finds that using these two elements “as merely marketing ploys” is “insulting.”