‘Black Panther' Director, Oakland Native Ryan Coogler Surprises Bay Area Moviegoers

Oakland native Ryan Coogler made a surprise appearance at several theaters Thursday to the premiere of his highly-anticipated film, "Black Panther."

The director surprised many moviegoers including those at the AMC Theater in Emeryville.

"This theatre is super important to me," Tambor said to the audience. "I’ve been here like a hundred times watching movies, probably in these seats right here, watching movies non-stop."

Coogler also showed up to the 10 p.m. screening at Grand Lake Theater in Oakland where according to SF Gate, he said, "I just wanted to swing by and say thank you to you guys for taking time on a Thursday night to come see the film."

The Grand Lake was the first theater the director of "Fruitvale Station" remembers going to, SF Gate reports. He recalls going to the theater with his father, "whatever movie he thought a black father and black son should come see together."

Another star that appeared in Bay Area screenings of "Black Panther" was Serena Williams who attended the AMC Van Ness 14 theater in San Francisco. SF Gate reported that tech crunch reporter Kim-Mai Cutler tweeted an image of Williams in the middle of a seated crowd.

With a predominantly African-American cast, led by Chadwick Boseman who plays the role of Black Panther, many hope the film is much more than just an action film.

"What I hope people take away is that we can define blackness and the black imagination not just in a colonial discourse," said Cal State East Bay professor Lonny Brooks. "Not just based in oppression. But augmenting that with so much more."

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