The hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeanstoMe is giving audiences the opportunity to speak out about the cultural significance of the Marvel film and how it has touched them personally.
Well before Black Panther even hit theaters, audiences were beyond excited for a movie that's far more than just your average comic book flick. As IntoFilm.org points out, it's a culturally significant landmark film in the history of representation. Now, Kayla Sutton, director of online marketing for Black Girl Nerds, a well-regarded genre news site that highlights diversity in the geek sphere, has given fans the opportunity to weigh-in on the significance of the film by creating the hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeanstoMe.
In an interview with Heat Vision, Sutton explained how her 8-year-old son inspired the social media movement: "I said, ‘Hey, why are you excited for the movie?' Because it was just curious to me, because for him he's young, he's Black and autistic. I feel like he has a unique perspective on the world and he always has. He's like, 'He's awesome, he's like the coolest in all of the comic books and all of the stuff. And he's Black like me.’”
After that, Sutton created the hashtag for Black Girl Nerds. She then asked her colleagues to get in on the action, and it quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.
Here are just a few of the touching responses that have hit social media since the hashtag picked up steam:
Sutton tells The Hollywood Reporter that she wants the hashtag to serve as a reminder that pop culture can influence entire communities for the better or the worse—and that Hollywood decision makers should ensure that the marginalized voices are represented in the projects they greenlight.
She concludes, “The gift that I could have gotten from this whole thing is that it did make people emotional, it did make people think, and actually be able to put their feelings out there for what this has done for them.”