A new petition on Change.org is gaining steam. The petition created by Chaz Gormley demands Marvel Studios and their parent company, The Walt Disney Company, “set aside 25% of their worldwide profit” from the upcoming Black Panther film. The petition states the 25% worldwide profit should “be allocated for investment in black communities, and in programs within these communities that focus on S.T.E.M.”
Here’s the full language of the petition:
Through a clever, well manufactured marketing campaign Marvel Studios and their parent company The Walt Disney Company have targeted the black community with their advertisements for the upcoming Black Panther film, due to release on February 16, 2018. As marginalized groups have become more vocal, corporations and their savvy public relations departments have turned to catering to these groups – to turn a profit – and this film by Marvel Studios is no different. For years, Black America has been speaking of the “lack of representation” in media, be it print, video or otherwise and as of the last decade Marvel Studios and the “superhero” genre in general have often been used as prime examples. Until now black superheroes or superheroes of color, have played marginal roles relegated to “sidekick” status, hardly at the forefront of any superhero film.
While many would see the release of a major studio film with a majority black cast, black director and art direction helmed by black artists (the SZA & Kendrick Lamar song “All The Stars” will be part of the Black Panther soundtrack) as a win – what exactly will the black community gain, aside from another symbolic victory? Surely, more than just black people will be heading to the movies on February 16th to indulge in another piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, Marvel Studios hasn’t pulled out all the stops to get everyone else to come to the theaters – they’ve blatantly targeted the black community, because they want the one thing the black community has to offer in abundance – black dollars.
Marvel Studios and their Black Panther marketing campaign has targeted Black America in two very distinct ways:
- Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” played in the background of the initial Black Panther trailer (which speaks to a a larger issue of the monetization of “wokeness”).
- The films Black History Month release date.
On their own, these two instances don’t warrant outrage or disgust. However, when you acknowledge the importance of a song such as “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and the significance of Black History Month, it is insulting for them to be used as merely marketing ploys. Gil Scott-Heron told us that, “The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox…” and it will not be brought to us by Marvel Studios in association with The Walt Disney Company either.
As black communities across the United States continue to grapple with issues such as gentrification, police brutality, and substandard living conditions we cannot continue to recklessly support these conglomerates, allowing them to profit off of us without demanding something more than just their products in return. We have the ability to change the conditions our communities and us as a people face, by leveraging the strongest resources we have: our strength in numbers, and our combined “spending power”. Income inequality is real, and the continued decline of black wealth is something that need not only be addressed, but solved. Underprivileged communities that are only seen as contributors to profit margins must wield their collective power, and become more than just consumers of products; whether that be in the realm of material goods or the arts.
By signing this petition you’re taking a stand, and informing Marvel Studios & their parent The Walt Disney Company that in February your money is not guaranteed. That unless they agree to set aside 25% of their WORLDWIDE profitto be allocated for investment in black communities, and in programs within these communities that focus on S.T.E.M., you will not be heading to any movie theater to see their film.
You have the ability to not only be entertained, but to leave the theater in February knowing that a portion of your money will be coming back into your community. To not only go see a film about a fictitious country in Africa with advanced technology, but the opportunity to invest in programs which focus on the fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – that make such advancements possible, in real life.
Sign the petition and tell Marvel Studios & The Walt Disney Company to #BreakBread
You could simply go to the theater come February 16th, pay for your tickets, buy your popcorn and soda and leave after two hours having seen a good film – and making wealthy companies even wealthier.
But understand this:
The revolution will not be televised, because the revolution is here – the revolution is in the people.
The petition currently has 6,487 signatures with a goal set for 7,500.
What do you make of this petition? Should Walt Disney donate 25% of their worldwide profit from Black Panther to black communities that focus on S.T.E.M.?