Warning: This post contains mild spoilers from Black Panther.
Just two weeks after its release, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is a veritable phenomenon. It features the first black superhero from Marvel's comic books, and as of Wednesday, the film has grossed more than $700 million worldwide. It’s hard to overstate the cultural significance of the movie—it’s empowering and socially conscious, and it brought long overdue conversations about race and the African diaspora into the mainstream.
But Black Panther is also already having a much more tangible impact. ComingSoon reports that Disney CEO Bob Igen has announced that the company will donate $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to expand its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and establish a STEM Center of Innovation in Oakland. The website also confirmed that the organization will use the grant to establish other STEM centers in cities across the country, including one in Harlem.
The announcement is a direct nod to the end of the film, in which Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa heads to Oakland to build a new community center.
We’re just beginning to see the influence that Black Panther is having across the globe, and the announcement of the STEM centers is likely just the tip of the iceberg.