Stealing the show in Disney’s hit movie Black Panther is Shuri, a tech savvy princess who lives in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Fans can’t wait to see her invent circles around Tony Stark and Peter Parker, but they also want her to affect the real world, too.
There are few scientist role models for children of color in major cinema, and Shuri (played by Letitia Wright) is already pretty popular with young fans. To help support these fans, Disney has made a $1 million donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in an effort to grow their STEM curriculum.
The donation is specifically earmarked to help open new STEM education centers in 12 underserved communities including Atlanta, New Orleans, and Washington D.C. These education centers allow students to learn about 3D printers, robotics, and digital modeling. Also included is Oakland, CA, which was featured as the setting for Wakanda’s new STEM outreach program in the movie.
“It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film,” said Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company in a prepared statement. “So it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”
In his own statement, Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of America thanked Disney.
“Thanks to Disney’s support, we can expand our outreach and allow more youth to find their passions and discover STEM careers,” said Clark.
“You can never go wrong when you invest in kid’s [sic] futures,” added Chadwick Boseman, star of the film.
Black Panther made over $702 million in its opening four-day weekend. A $1 million donation may seem like a drop from that waterfall, but it is hopefully only the first.