The arrival of Black Panther is a big deal.
Sure, a new superhero flick comes out seemingly every other week. But this one carries an undeniably important punch that’s worth celebrating.
Debuting Friday, the Marvel film boasts a nearly all-black cast, featuring the likes of Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Angela Bassett (Chi-Raq), and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave). It’s also the first film focused on a black hero, the Black Panther character. And, perhaps most important, it is a rallying moment to celebrate African-Americans' impact on entertainment and our broader society.
In honor of the film, there are parties and gatherings galore, including a few unique events in South Florida. Starex Smith, vice president of BlackTech Week and mastermind behind the foodie site the Hungry Black Man, is helping to put on two big-time shindigs this week.
“The comic itself focuses on a fictitious, technologically advanced land... showing how African societies may have developed without external influences and also what society can be out there,” Smith says. “We thought it would be great to play on that narrative and create that land in South Florida on a number of spectrums... and that includes a weekend of celebrating the film.”
Friday evening, Smith and friends will host a movie premiere with a red-carpet entrance at AMC Aventura 24. Guests are encouraged to go all-out in African attire.
“Being African-American, whether from the Caribbean, Afro-Latina, or anywhere, sometimes there is a disconnect in the African traditions and culture that our ancestors enjoyed,” Smith says. “The movie has done such a great job representing cultures all over Africa and creating costumes that reflect them. We don’t have too many opportunities to celebrate this diversity in one place.”
Immediately following the film, KC Healthy Cooking in North Miami will host an exclusive dinner with a vegan/vegetarian-friendly spread.
After an action-packed Friday, the momentum will flow into Saturday with the Black Panther African Themed Adult Prom. The elegant affair will take place at the Overtown Performing Arts Center and will boast performances by African drum groups, dancers, and a DJ to get the crowd moving.
“It’s all about letting your hair down and having a good time,” Smith says. “We’ll probably even have some spades and a domino table. And we’ll be giving awards out for best dressed and most creative... and, yes, we’ll be electing a prom king and queen.”
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Anyone and everyone is invited to all of the events.
“One of the challenges of being black and celebrating things that are black... it’s unfortunately a reality that [other] people feel they’re excluded when they’re not,” Smith explains. “Just like anyone is usually welcome to an Italian event, Greek festival, Oktoberfest, or St. Patrick’s Day, anyone is welcome to join us.”
Black Panther Movie Premiere and Dinner. Movie premiere at 7 p.m. Friday, February 16, at AMC Aventura 24, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., #3001, Aventura; dinner at 10 p.m. at KC Healthy Cooking, 11900 Biscayne Blvd., #103, North Miami. Tickets cost $25 for movie only, $45 for dinner only, and $65 for both via eventbrite.com.
Black Panther Adult Prom. 8 p.m. Saturday, February 17, at Overtown Performing Arts Center, 1074 NW Third Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $85 via eventbrite.com.