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The #BlackPantherChallenge Creator Has Big Plans for ‘Captain Marvel’

“I saw a moment for kids to have what I wished I had growing up,” Fredrick said.

Frederick T. Joseph has been doing his part to help provide examples of representation to the youth in his community. The Yonkers, New York-born marketing consultant spoke to EBONY about his latest projects, which include a GoFundMe campaign for Captain Marvel and an ode to Black Women.

In 2017, he created the Black Panther challenge and the outcome exceeded his expectation.

“I saw an opportunity for kids to have a moment that I wish I had growing up,” Joseph said. “A Black superhero [who is] an African king and surrounded by Black women who are fierce and intelligent. And they’re in a country that’s never been colonized, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah! Black kids have to see this.’”

His campaign catapulted a movement, which helped raise nearly $1 million. The snowball effect motivated celebrities, including Snoop Dogg, and Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, to rent out theaters for people to watch the Oscar-nominated film.

The We Have Stories founder told EBONY that he was born to a teen mom who made the best of their living circumstances and grew up impressed by superheroes. As a result, he wants the underserved to have access and opportunities to achieve their dreams.

When Disney announced the release of Captain Marvel during Women’s History Month, Joseph knew he wanted to honor women. He, again, teamed up with GoFundMe to create a campaign with the goal of raising $20,000 to get kids to see Marvel studio’s first female-led movie.

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The fundraiser is now at $63,010 and the additional money will go to nonprofits Girls Inc. LA and We Have Stories to support programmatic efforts.

“I understand that we’ve had women-led superhero films before. Wonder Woman came out a few years ago,” he said. “But Captain Marvel’s character is something that we’ve never seen before. She was in the Air Force, her best friend is Black, she has a cat and she wears a suit. She’s not wearing some type of hypersexualized outfit.”

It’s a brand of feminism that sparked Joseph’s interest, which he credited to the strength and open-heartedness of his mom and girlfriend. In addition, he created the ‘To Black Women With Love’ platform, which features Black men conveying just how important Black women are within the African-American community.

“There’s a lot still to be done in the way of representation and diversity,” Joseph said. “I actually think diversity for me isn’t the word, it’s inclusion. Diversity is Green Book, right? It’s like, ‘Oh, there’s a Black person in it [so] it’s diverse.’ What you need is actually getting Black people and other people who are marginalized in the room to make decisions.”

Hear more from the 2018 Comic-Con Humanitarian of the Year on GoFundMe’s podcast series True Stories of Good People.

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