Shareena Clanton: A special screening of new film Black Panther for struggling Indigenous and African youth
February 9, 2018
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Shareena Clanton is a proud Wongatha/Yamatji and Noongar/Gitja woman with paternal Etowah Cherokee/Blackfoot and African-American heritage. Shareena is an actor and currently stars in the Foxtel/US Netflix series “Wentworth”. She has called Melbourne home for the past 7 years.
On the 15th of February “Black Panther” will be released nationwide in Australian cinemas. This film matters.
A week ago, I created a GoFundMe page to help raise $11,712 required to fill a 488-seat theatre with snacks including a small popcorn, drink and choc top for disadvantaged and economically struggling Indigenous and African youth. Since then, Marvel and Disney studios heard about this initiative and have helped me facilitate a screening with all costs covered. This is a wonderful investment and shows power in community engagement but there is still much more work to do and I would like your participation to help me fund another screening.
The screening is not just about providing children entertainment but something far more universal in its purpose. This is ascension to the throne of blackness. As my mother says, it’s about “creating an opportunity for young Black youth to see a movie that honours THEIR BLACKNESS – their unique place in the world and allows BLACKNESS to be personified as NOBLE, HONOURABLE, CREATIVE, GLORIOUS, INGENIOUS RULERS.”
At the time of writing, the site has raised over $4,000 from various individual and anonymous contributions. In order to host a second screening so the children who are unable to attend the first one on the 24th of February, we need more contributions. The more opportunities we can create for our black youth to access a screening of this film, the better. This is not about individualism or individual objectives; this is about helping to bring the community together and elevating something positive in the media, instead of negative.
Often our black youth are subject to unjust targeting and vilification in the mainstream media and demonised as a result. With a particular intent to dehumanise, ostracise and creative further division that detract from the good being accomplished. This proposed screenings are an opportunity to help dismantle such negative stereotypes by engaging with various groups and organisations that are already doing phenomenal work with our Indigenous and African communities across Melbourne.
From the heart of this film, our black youth can be inspired to unite in the fight against ongoing injustices and discrimination, to fight for what is good in this world, to uplift themselves and each other with the ancestral fires of their people and to always remember their own power and worth. I hope that they may be reminded to stand strong in their truth and remain steadfast in their own legacy with an unwavering and unapologetic ancestral fire and courage. Above all, this superhero film uplifts the black roots of ancient royalty and represents Wakanda as the most technologically advanced nation in the world. This film celebrates our strength and beauty.
On a societal level, we often throw the word ”diversity” around but are rarely inclusive to those who don’t adhere to the grand narrative.
The paradigm is shifting but it’s not progressing fast enough within the systemic structures that exist today. Black Panther seeks to eradicate the white-centric narrative entirely whilst propelling this welcomed advancement, without apology.
Everything we do is about building and maintaining legacy and opening up the platforms of inclusion. I hope this film both encourages and inspires the next leaders in this world to platform a level of intellectual potency and activate change within our society. This film is important and allowing children access to see it is important. Maybe they will be the next storytellers of new black heroes or even our next directors of black-centric narratives. Whatever the future holds, it’s about creating a positive long-term outcome both individually and collectively within our black communities and allowing the children to see themselves represented on screen, both as powerful influencers and successful leaders whilst remaining true to who they are and their cultural identity.
We must stand in solidarity with our fellow Indigenous and African community members whilst cultivating an environment of leadership and inspiration so that we can all take pride in “Black Panther”. There is no greater time than now and every child deserves a superhero they can connect with and look up to. Our black youth need superheroes too and Black Panther could not have come to us at a more perfect time.
We need as many Indigenous and African youth via various organisations or community groups to come to these screenings. To avoid liability and access issues I need to communicate with the leaders from these groups and organisations to help facilitate numbers and work out how the children get to and from this event. I will also need a ticket amount allocation and to make sure we are targeting youth that are unable to see this film due to a lack of finances.
If you would like to donate or register your service for this event, please visit the GoFundMe page
There is a small letter icon next to my name on the site, please click on it and message me with your interest and contact details to find out more.
Please note this film has an M rating and is not restricted. This screening is specifically for young people up to 19 years old.
Registrations close Friday the 16th of February.
Help us pack out the cinema and may we all be “Wakanda forever”.