Excitement building locally for premiere of 'Black Panther' movie

North Side woman expecting more than 300 for watch party

SAN ANTONIO – Excitement is building across the country and in San Antonio for the premiere of the Disney/Marvel film “Black Panther.”

The movie, which features a largely African-American cast, is based on the character by the same name, who first appeared in Marvel comic books in 1966. This marks the first time he appears in his own film.

"He's the most decorated superhero, the most intelligent one. He's the richest one,” said Munirah Small, a longtime fan.

Black Panther is also the first African-American superhero. His alter ego, T’Chala, is the king of the fictional country of Wakanda.

The anticipation of the long-awaited film has some fans bursting with excitement.

"The release of this movie, especially right now with the social climate with our country, people of color need a happy moment,” Small said. "I wanted to do something that we'd never done before.”

After talking over the idea with a friend at breakfast several months ago, Small decided to go big and throw a Hollywood-style red carpet event for the premiere. Their red carpet, however, will be purple with sequins.

The idea quickly blossomed into a full-blown event. 

Small said she sold out two screenings at the Santiko’s Rialto Theatre on Friday night. She’s expecting nearly 350 people to attend.

"(I’m) extremely excited,” Coko Hardnett said. “I'll be honest, not so much for the storyline but for the fashion."

Hardnett, one of Small’s close friends, said she plans to wear a designer African-made floor-length gown.

Small declined to reveal her outfit but did show off her blinged-out accessories.

“The city of San Antonio is about to see something they have never seen before,” said Sharon Michael Chadwell, another friend who plans to attend. “Yes, it's a movie but it's a celebration of our culture. "

All three women said they’re elated that the film will be showcasing images rarely seen on the big screen.

“We've seen African-Americans portrayed as gangsters, prostitutes, thugs, shysters — all of those negative things," Chadwell said.

Hardnett shares Chadwell's sense of pride.

"The characters in these comics look like us and we can relate to them,” she said.

Apparently, a lot of fans feel the same way. Small said the event is completely sold out, and she doesn’t expect any tickets to become available.

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