Mentor takes 50 young men to see “Black Panther”

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Movies are powerful. They entertain, make us think, and make us feel valued. A Lexington community leader took advantage of that power Saturday. He took as many young African American men as he could to see the new “Black Panther” movie.

“We just felt like the movie was empowering, especially for young minorities,” Lexington hip hop artist and mentor, Devine Carama, said.

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People across the country are noting it as more than just a popular movie. It has a black director and a majority African American cast, portraying black people positively as superheroes.

“As a kid growing up, Batman and Superman none of them looked like me so when I heard about the movie coming out, I was like,  ‘Wow, this is amazing,'” Carama said.

After seeing the movie, nine-year-old Brycen Connors said, “It felt like I was actually in the movie.”

“There’s a lot of white characters in there, I mean a lot of white characters in a lot of movies so I liked this one because it had half of the cast was black characters,” Sam Valentine said.

Carama says he loved the emphasis on unity, a theme he is trying to instill in the boys in his mentoring program.

The experience also covered self-worth, another value he wants the boys to grow up with.

“If you turn on the news or turn on TV or turn on music and everyone that looks like you is a criminal or doing something wrong you kind of internalize that, but when you see positivity and superheroes that look like you it kind of makes you feel like you can do anything,” Carama said.

A grant from State Farm helped cover the movie tickets. Carama said many of the young men at the movie theater were also recipients of coats donated during a 48 hour outdoor performance he did.

There is a man who has started an online challenge to give kids who would not otherwise be able to see the movie the chance to go. It is called “Black Panther Challenge“.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!