TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – WWE wrestler Titus O’Neil works hard in the ring and in the community.
A few weeks ago, O’Neil, whose real name is Thaddeus Bullard, answered the #BlackPantherChallenge, an initiative started by New York resident Frederick Joseph who called on others to take more kids to watch Black Panther in the theater.
It just so happens O’Neil teaches a weekly class at Academy Prep in Tampa, and on Thursday, he and two friends brought a smile to all of his students’ faces.
“So we’re going to take the whole school to see the movie black panther on Sunday,” O’Neil told his class.
He also challenged others like Buccaneers Jameis Winston and Gerald McCoy to do the same, and they came through.
“I never saw a superhero that looked like me on television growing up. So for Marvel to do this for the first time it’s ever been done, where it’s actually an all minority cast, it’s a historic event,” O’Neil said.
Gwen Henderson, a program director at Jefferson High School, doesn’t want to miss the opportunity.
She’s taking 750 students to see the movie, but this isn’t her first rode.
Each year during Black History Month, her students hold a solidarity march to AMC Westshore to see movies inspired by African Americans. They’ve seen Selma, Race, Red Tails and Hidden Figures, as well as two plays.
For Henderson, this film is another teaching opportunity.
“There are some leadership opportunities there that our students will get to see and we’ve taken a different route in choosing students who have leadership capacity at Jefferson,” Henderson said.
The goal is to have young people marvel at a superhero and find out great things about themselves.
“It’s very important that these kids can view themselves as heroes as well,” O’Neil said.
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