While it doesn’t sound like Black Panther is going to have any problems when it comes to making money at the box office, not everyone can afford a movie ticket, no matter how badly they want to see the movie or how fervently critics rave about it.
As the first Marvel movie with a black superhero from a black nation at its center—one critic went so far as to call it the blackest movie of all time—Black Panther is an especially important movie for the black community when it comes to representation onscreen. Unfortunately, black communities in the United States tend to be disproportionately underserved (due to historically racist policies stemming from slavery to Jim Crow, but that’s a conversation for another time). That’s why Octavia Spencer, known for her role in The Help (for which she won an Oscar) and Hidden Figures, announced on Wednesday that she plans to buy out a movie theater in Mississippi—which is where she will be when the movie premieres in February—to offer screenings to those from underserved communities.
Spencer announced her brilliant idea in an Instagram post. She captioned it: "I will be in MS when this movie opens. I think I will buy out a theater in an underserved community there to ensure that all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero. I will let you know where and when Mississippi. Stay tuned. #KingsAndQueensWillRise."
This isn’t the first time Spencer has gone out of her way and used money from her own pocket to help out those less fortunate than her. In January 2017, she bought out screenings of Hidden Figures, the movie that won her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, in low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Hidden Figures told the inspirational story of three little-known black women who helped NASA with the calculations and engineering power necessary to finally land on the moon. Many of her co-stars, including Taraji P. Henson and Jim Parsons, took her lead and did the same.
With the ever-increasing hype around what is sure to be a very enjoyable and important movie, here’s hoping more celebrities and people with the means to do so make sure that as many people as possible see Black Panther—especially those who might not have the chance to buy the tickets for themselves.