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Student takes on the #BlackPantherChallenge

  • group of people in front of movie cutout of The Black Panther

Posted on March 15, 2018

The Marvel movie "Black Panther" has been nothing short of successful. The film has grossed more than $1 billion in its first month in theaters, and received glowing reviews and fan support. 

One Grand Valley student used the movie as an opportunity to give back.

"I loved the movie," said Jim Phan, a senior majoring in marketing. "I'm a huge comic book fan. But this was more than that."

Phan decided to take on the #BlackPantherChallenge, a social media movement that asked participants to raise money to take children to see the movie.

Phan and his friend, Howard Johnson, created a GoFundMe page to raise $1,300 in two weeks to support the challenge in his hometown of Lansing. They received the full amount, which paid for not only the tickets, popcorn, and drinks, but also allowed the pair to make a donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing.

"Representation matters, especially for kids," Phan said. "When they're able to see people like themselves portrayed as superheroes they start to think that maybe that could be them, too."

Frederick Joseph, a philanthropist, was the first to launch the #BlackPantherChallenge in New York City, with a campaign that raised $40,000. Many others were inspired to do the same, with more than 200 campaigns in all 50 states, and even other countries.

Phan believes the challenge is similar to what the Laker Effect means.

"It's about being a part of something bigger than yourself," said Phan. "Being able to make positive change and inspiring others to do the same means something."

-- story by Kathleen Ryan, student writer