NEW YORK -- This weekend marks exactly one year since "Black Panther" opened, and its impact continues to resonate. The movie earned 7 Oscar nominations, and it was the biggest hit of 2018.
With a take past $1.3 billion around the world "Black Panther" is a box-office phenomenon, but one year after the movie opened it's more than just another blockbuster, say young fans like 12-year-old Danka Clara who says, "it feels more important to me right now."
Malik Middleton, who is 14 years old, told me, "to see someone who looks like me on camera, and in a position of power, was just so refreshing and made me proud to be black."
And, the characters are so different from traditional Hollywood stereotypes, says 16-year-old Sophia Greenway, who points out that in this movie, "we're not just a slave or a rapper or someone who gets killed off first. We're smart and strong and all these beautiful things."
To spend time with these students at The Harlem School of The Arts is to understand how "Black Panther" has sparked a discussion about a wide range of cultural issues: "How we treat each other, and how everybody treats us, and how we can make it better," Devon Graves told me.
He has seen this Marvel movie more than ten times, and his fellow students have also gone back to watch it again and again.
Danielle Touba, who is 17, relates because, "as a young woman and as a female actor I think seeing the Wakanda warriors, and the female warriors really opens doors for me: seeing myself in them and also opening doors for me career wise."
As young performers, they are in the habit of watching the Oscar show, but this year, they'll be tuning in for sure. "I'm rooting for 'Black Panther' to win the awards," says 8th grader Leah Kempson, "and I want to see like how it goes."
Sitting next to her is 9-year-old Jayden Herston who states firmly, "If it wins I'm going to be so happy because it tells other people that African-Americans actually do good things. They're not in the negative. They're actually in the positive right now."
The movie is from Disney, owned by the same parent company as ABC 7.
Three of the movies nominated for Best Picture have each grossed over $200 million in the U.S. and Canada.
"Bohemian Rhapsody," "A Star Is Born," and "Black Panther" each have fans rooting for them, and this is expected to boost the ratings for the big show February 24th.
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Impact of 'Black Panther' still resonates, one year later
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