It’s been one month since the death of Black Panther star and King of Wakanda, Chadwick Boseman. As a tribute to him, Bold TV decided to uniquely reminisce on his impact. One of the most-searched dancing gifs is a byproduct of Chadwick Boseman.
Many use this gif for the expression of happiness or excitement when communicating through messages or tweets. It perfectly captures a joyful emotion. What people may not know is the backstory of this gif: it’s of students at Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, preparing to see the Black Panther. That’s where this boy’s excitement is coming from! We interviewed Susan Barnes and Pamela Haskin, the English and art teachers responsible for organizing the experience at Ron Clark Academy, to expound on the impact Chadwick’s character had on the students.
This moment captures the “black boy joy,” as Haskin reflected. There was excitement from anticipation built three days prior to seeing the movie. Haskin and Barnes, the planning committee for the Black Panther experience, organized special meals to highlight culture, had an African Market at the school where students could buy traditional gear to wear to the movie and tailored the curriculum to prepare students for what they would be exposed to during the movie. A lot of intentional actions were responsible for the high expectation and enthusiasm that students were experiencing. All of this preparation led to the expression of excitement in the infamous gif.
“As a person of color, we don’t really get to celebrate, and we don’t always get to celebrate where people can see it,” Barnes stated. The Black Panther movie was historic in its premiere, requesting that all guests wear royal attire. It was also the first of the Millennial generation to have a Marvel megabudget with a predominantly black cast and director. This movie is a staple and celebration of Blackness traced to African roots. This was embraced heavily at Ron Clark Academy with the purpose of celebration as well as informing the students of their culture.
Students who were a part of this experience have grown to be activists, writers and leaders of organizations to edify the Black experience. They’ve become embedded in African-American history due to the interpersonal connections they have made. “The kids who experienced the Black Panther … it made them stand up a little straighter … a lot more assertive,” Haskin said. The students are now defenders of Black history. “They don’t allow those under-supported facts of history to fly. Our students are ready, willing and able to give a more robust understanding of history because they saw it, they felt it…,” she said. These students are creating lasting impact, simply due to representation in film by Boseman. These students have become scholars to correct America’s view on Black history and the Black experience, inspired by Boseman.
THANK YOU, CHADWICK
On Aug. 28, 2020, we lost a champion. Chadwick Boseman has enriched our lives and left a lasting legacy. From many interviews featuring Boseman, we know he was heavy on pursuing his God-given purpose. Let us take up his advice to discover the reason we are on this earth and make our lives as impactful as his.
The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) is a nonprofit middle school in Atlanta known for its success in creating a loving, dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence and fosters leadership. RCA extends its reach beyond its own student body by having an impact on students everywhere through its revolutionary professional development program, the ‘RCA Experience.’