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Vanessa K. De Luca
Jan, 30, 2018

I knew I was home as soon as I heard the drumming.

From the moment hubby and I stepped onto the purple carpet, I had no doubt I was about to enter a world I didn¹t know if I was quite ready for. And since I can't drop any spoilers here, just trust me when I tell you. By the time the movie is over and the credits roll, you will know that Ryan Coogler, the Black Panther cast and crew have delivered a visual, emotional and cerebral gift that it will take you days, weeks, maybe even months from which to recover.

But back to the carpet... the Dora Milaje stood watch as fans waited for the stars to come out and did they ever! It was a who¹s who of Black Hollywood. Angela, Lupita, Danai, Issa, Yara, Michael B., King Chadwick and so many more. And folks from the Marvel universe represented as well to show their support.

After we went through security, surrendered our phones (to prevent pirating), grabbed our mezzanine seats and cracked open the free popcorn tub, hubby and I settled in. (And we were there super early because there was no CPT-allowed, or they would give your tickets to someone else.)

Slowly but surely seats began to fill with celebs hugging and greeting each other like it was the annual family reunion. Our West Coast Editor Regina Robertson and her guest sat next to us, and the four of us turned spotting people into a game: We see you Laurence Fishburne, John Singleton, Martin Lawrence, Amber Riley, Josh Gad, Tessa Thompson, Lena Waithe, Storm Reid, Ava DuVernay, Don Cheadle, and —this blew me away— David Hasselhoff. There were more stars I am sure I missed but I was just happy to be in the room.

Before the movie started, Coogler, who introduced his cast, received a standing ovation from the entire audience. And then there were shouts and praise hands for each of the stars, and especially for Angela Bassett¹s fringed pants!

We ended the night at the cast after party; the joy and pride in the room was unforgettable. As I clicked my high heels and twirled a few times I realized that we deserve more moments like this, we all do. So let¹s make sure this film breaks all the box-office records.

Do it for the culture.