Disney, ESPN host 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' premiere party in Oakland

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Saturday, November 12, 2022
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ESPN and Disney held a special 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' premiere event at Oakland's Grand Lake Theatre Friday night.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After nearly five long years, the cultural phenomenon is back.

On Friday night, the new Disney film "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" was released in theaters across the country.

"It's like a childhood movie that I've watched since I was a little kid, so it's really exciting to see the second one," said 9-year-old Blaine Michael.

At Oakland's Grand Lake Theatre, ESPN and Disney held a special premiere event.

Those in attendance were treated to a red carpet welcome, a photoshoot and the best Wakanda-inspired outfits around.

RELATED: Oakland students treated to special red carpet screenings of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'

"I'm an Oakland native. Born and bred in The Town, and it was so important to me to be able to do this at home with my friends and family," said Heather Anderson of ESPN.

And Anderson's not the only one with Oakland ties.

The film's director also hails from the East Bay city.

The Black Panther franchise has been a massive commercial success since its launch in 2018.

But for so many in Oakland, and the country as a whole, it's about a lot more.

RELATED: 'Black Panther' sequel is 1st Marvel film to feature Hispanic villain, highlights female empowerment

"I mean this is Black excellence. I just know that when I saw the movie, to see us as superheroes, see us intelligent, see us in science, to be leaders," said ESPN senior NBA writer, Marc Spears.

And that representation goes beyond just race.

The film also features a number of leading female characters.

"I think our young girls need to see that. They've been through a lot with the shutdown, with the pandemic, and I think they need to see positive representation for who they are," said Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jennifer Madden.

So while people all around the nation tune in to see Wakanda on the big screen, hopefully they'll see pieces of themselves too.

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