Kendrick Lamar, 12-time Grammy winner and holder of the key to the city of Compton, has bought out three whole cinemas for poor kids from Watts to see Black Panther.
Along with the head of his label, Top Dawg CEO Anthony Tiffith, Lamar bought every ticket for five separate screenings of the film in three different cinemas, totaling around 1,000 tickets. Kids living in the Nickerson Gardens, Jordan Downs and Imperial Courts housing projects were then given the tickets via their housing development offices, and buses provided by the LA Unified School District took them to the cinemas.
Lamar himself grew up in housing projects in neighbouring Compton. He was originally asked by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to contribute a few songs to the film, but ended up bringing loads of people in and, together with Tiffith, curating a whole soundtrack album.
“He came in and watched quite a bit of the movie, and the next thing I know, they were booking a studio and they were going at it,” said Coogler. The lead single from the soundtrack, ‘King’s Dead’, features Jay Rock, who grew up in the Nickerson Gardens project.
Lamar and Tiffith aren’t the only people to stick their hands in their pockets in a bid to help more people see the film. Loads of people want to send kids to the cinema to see all-too-rare portrayals of powerful black superheroes.
A GoFundMe project to do so became their most-backed project ever. Octavia Spencer, who narrowly missed out on a BAFTA last night for The Shape of Water, bought out a cinema in Mississippi. T.I and Snoop Dogg have also given out a bunch of tickets.
Black Panther is doing amazingly well, with universally dazzling reviews and enormous box-office success. Here in the UK, it made more money just at the weekend than Justice League did in its whole theatrical run.