Yesterday, Black cast members around the country assembled in superhero fashion for advanced screenings of the highly anticipated film, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” which was officially released to the public today.
Seven Black BERGs (Business Employee Resource Groups) from across the company — collectively referred to as “Wakanda United” — joined forces to create this special day for our cast to celebrate Black culture in a distinctly Disney way.
“The experience of bringing our cast members together to watch ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ feels amazing and warms my heart. It allows us to unite as we pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman after his passing and support a new Black Panther and supporting characters,” said Disneyland Resort PULSE BERG Leader and Senior Manager of Downtown Disney District Business Relations Lindell Skinner. “Being able to collaborate with other Black BERGs across The Walt Disney Company has been an amazing experience and has created friendships and connections that will last a lifetime. Wakanda United… FOREVER!”
All over the U.S., cast members lifted their Wakanda salutes in solidarity as the theaters filled with cast dressed in their Black Panther best. In essence of the film and its celebration of Pan-African culture, a few attendees even styled colorful traditional wear.
The exclusive screenings also included photo opportunities, themed giveaways and even a special message from the stars – Dominique Thorne, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and Danai Gurira – to our cast.
“One of the most important things that BERGs provide cast members is the feeling of family, community and personal connections,” said Ivy Williams and Ronke Olatunji, BERG Leaders and Team Leader for Safety Services and Manager of Casting Services, respectively. “When you are trying to navigate a company as big as Disney, BERGs serve a critical need to its employees to feel a sense of belonging and inclusion.”
In addition to these special screenings, we also shared the magic of this film with our Disney College Program participants and local teens and young adults across America in conjunction with Disney’s $1 million donation to nonprofit organizations providing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and arts programming to young people from historically underrepresented communities.
Disney is a place where everyone is welcome, and where our guests can see themselves in our stories – and this movie is no different. Vibrant in action, love, and culture, this film reflects everything I stand for as a woman, daughter, friend, sister, and cast member, and I can’t wait for the world to enjoy it as much as I did.