Advertisement
  1. News

WWE's Titus O'Neil wants to inspire kids with Marvel's Black Panther

So far Thaddeus Bullard (left) - also known as WWE wrestler Titus O'Neil - is helping take 500 children to see Marvel's new "Black Panther" movie, starring Chadwick Boseman (right). [Times files | Marvel/Disney]
Published Feb. 1, 2018

Thaddeus "Titus O'Neil" Bullard — former Gators defensive end, professional wrestler, philanthropist and all-around good guy — has seen a lot of things in his many careers.

But he's never seen a movie like Black Panther, the latest Marvel superhero movie set to hit theaters Feb. 16.

He wants to help black children see the movie, too.

"I'm 40 years old and I've never seen a Marvel character that looked like me, as an African-American male," Bullard said.

"This will be the first time I've seen a superhero on screen that looks like me and I want kids to not only be able to see superheroes on the screen but also to view themselves as superheroes.

"If they see that on screen, then maybe they can be the next doctor or lawyer or president, whatever they can be. This could be a great teaching moment if we can get them into theaters."

FROM 2017: WWE's Titus O'Neil wants kids to hear the same words that set him straight

He and Alicia "Joy" McDowell are working together on a Tampa Bay-focused part of the #BlackPantherChallenge, a nationwide movement to raise money to help children see the movie together.

Bullard especially wants to help children from low-income families who attend Title I schools because "those kids don't get a lot of stuff."

Black Panther is the story of T'Challa, the superhero-king of the imaginary African nation of Wakanda, who was created in 1966 by comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Now it's the latest superhero blockbuster from Marvel/Disney.

The movie Black Panther is a first in many ways: It's Marvel's first black superhero movie, cast mostly with black actors led by a black director.

So far Bullard said he and McDowell have raised enough money to take 500 kids ages 13-18 (sorry adults) to see the movie in theaters in Tampa, Brandon and Wesley Chapel. They're hoping to raise money to send more kids across the bay area through a GoFundMe. AMC Theatres has waived the $500 fee to rent the theaters.

He said he's talked to Tampa Bay Buccaneer Gerald McCoy about donating and also with organizations he regularly partners with such as the Hillsborough County School District, Metropolitan Ministries, United Way Suncoast and Academy Prep Center of Tampa, where he teaches a class.

To register, visit the Black Panther screening website.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of John Travlos and Germana Morin aboard Travlos' houseboat in 2013, takes the stand in his own defense Tuesday. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, accused of killing two aboard a houseboat in 2013, told a different version of the same story his girlfriend told. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    One of the messages included a picture of a pellet gun, Tampa police said.
  3. The lobby bar at the Current Hotel on Rocky Point in Tampa serves eclectic cocktails and locally brewed coffee. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Take a look inside Tampa Bay’s newest boutique hotel.
  4. Adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College voted to unionize Tuesday, joining thousands of other adjuncts across Florida who are fighting for better working conditions and pay. [Times]
    The employees are the seventh group in Florida to join Service Employees International Union in recent yeas as it pushes for investment in the state’s higher education institutions.
  5. A pauper's cemetery was established at the northeast corner of property now occupied by King High School in Tampa, location of the school gymnasium (tall building at top left) and the main parking lot. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Conflicting versions emerge of where Ridgewood Cemetery was located. One thing is certain: It was ignored or forgotten.
  6. The University of South Florida ranked ahead of UCF, FIU and FAU in the U.S. News & World Report's Global University Rankings. [USF handout]
    The University of Florida finished 105th, while USF came in at 310. Harvard led the world.
  7. An anti-government protester raises his hands during clashes with police in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The government said Tuesday that 15 people have died in five days of rioting, arson and violent clashes that were sparked by a hike in subway fares and have almost paralyzed the country. RODRIGO ABD  |  AP
    Riot police used tear gas and streams of water to break up marches by rock-throwing demonstrators in several streets of Santiago on Tuesday.
  8. The Florida Bar wants the state’s highest court to immediately suspend the law license of Tampa attorney Jose Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo. FACEBOOK PAGE  |  Su Abogado Hispano
    José Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo, abandoned his law practice, according to the petition from the Florida Bar.
  9. West Palm Beach police spokeswoman Molly Anderson said during a news conference on Tuesday that Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rudelmiro Santizo Perez on Monday in Houston as he tried to flee to Guatemala. West Palm Beach Police Department/Facebook
    Police began investigating on Oct. 3 when a hidden camera was found inside an employee bathroom at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
  10. This Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, photo shows the graded dirt surface where sod will be placed in November inside what will be the stadium for David Beckham’s Inter Miami MLS soccer team that opens its inaugural season in 2020 at the site of the former Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. TIM REYNOLDS  |  AP
    Construction is on schedule, with all signals pointing toward everything being ready for the team’s first home match that’s likely to come in March.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement