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Howard University buzzing about 'Black Panther,' excited to see alumnus in leading role

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This image released by Disney shows a scene from Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios-Disney)

Howard University students are excited for Marvel’s newest film, “Black Panther,” and some students said the film is significant for the African American community.

The big-budget action movie has a predominantly black cast and the first-ever black Marvel superhero.

“It is the talk of many campuses right now,” said Eric Ruffin, a theater arts associate professor at Howard University.

He said "Black Panther" is changing the way people think about movie characters.

“’Oh wow. That’s what a superhero can look like? That’s fantastic.’ Why not? Why not share the pantheon of superheroes with women and people of color? Why not?” Ruffin said.

Students at the campus said this movie gives them a character they can identify with.

“I was happy to see a superhero that finally looks like me that’s representing my culture,” said Chad Vines-Clark, a senior at Howard University. “And what I also loved about it too was, the star is a Howard alum and his name is Chad as well.”

Chadwick Boseman is changing the face of superheroes and becoming a role model for the Howard students that came after him.

“I just hope that I do something significant that people are going to say the same thing about me,” student Avery Johnson said.

Johnson wore his new “Black Panther” shirt Friday afternoon and planned to see the move that night.

“It’s really nice to know that there are, like, films out there that I can watch and be like, ‘I can relate to something like this’ instead of like an outsider looking in in a way,” he said.

The movie’s cast is significant for Patricia Mensah.

“It’s going to show the world that black people don’t always have to be characterized with negativity and that they can be characterized with positivity,” she said.

Ruffin said this is a turning point in the industry and could open the door for more diversity in television and movies.

“I think it’s important because you have hope. You have folks in every community, black communities, Asian communities, Euro communities saying, ‘Wow. This is an image that I can believe in, this is an image that I can hold on to,’” he said.

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