It Took $1 Billion for People to Finally Get a Clue

Terrence Jakes
Sep 17, 2018 · 4 min read
Photo by Ahmet Yalçınkaya on Unsplash

Infinity War Domestic Total: $678,815,482

Black Panther Domestic Total: $700,059,566

(Statistics provided by as of September 17, 2018)

The success of Black Panther, in the United States, was no anomaly. It was no cultural phenomenon. Honestly, it was the same story, keeping true to a long known truth.

There is nothing new under the sun.

The turnout was a repeat of a long, storied history of the immediate impact and influence the African American community can have when it decides to rally together.


You saw it with the Montgomery Bus Boycott over 60 years ago. You experienced it during the voter turnout in 2008 with the opportunity to vote for a President that looked like them, in Barack Obama. It’s evident in the way churches rally around families who have lost loved ones, or the way communities have come together to protest the wrongful deaths of unarmed black men.

When served with a common interest and the community shows up, great results, even significant change, can take place.

I had a heightened sense of pride in how the community showed up and showed out for Black Panther. But as I saw the dollar amount growing daily and hearing of friends and others on social media who spent money to see the film multiple times, I began to feel some mixed emotions. (Confession, I did see it three times in theaters)

One: Even though the support for a predominantly black cast cannot be underscored, all of the money spent was not being poured back into the communities who spent the money.

Two: Imagine if that same united excitement and energy was placed in another area of need.


There are many ways the lives of African Americans in the US can begin to change for the better. We can talk about how we can impact the financial situation of our communities by being conscious of where our billions are being spent. We can impact real estate, the educational system as well as local and national politics. These are all large and necessary endeavors, but goals that will take time and the right leadership to achieve.

While we wait for those societal changes to take place, there is a cause, or rather a group of people that you can rally around. Right now.

If you are on this site, then you already know I am speaking about our young people and their future. Our community can begin to rally around them right away. Your motivating factor? Not only can the return on investment of your time and energy be felt almost right away, you will intentionally have a positive, generational impact that will be felt for years to come.


My 10-year-old daughter joined my wife and me at the movies to see Black Panther. After the movie, she was so enamored with the Wakandan Princess, Shuri. I’ve read stories of this nature about other young girls being inspired by her brilliance, as well as the joy in seeing people on the big screen who they recognize in the mirror. This influence, the characters had cannot be undersold, but seeing them for a little over two hours on a screen isn’t enough.

The same influence these characters had, and the same influence that gives our community the opportunity to create change in this country’s economy and our way of life, can be used to positively impact your young people.


To effectively implement your influence, you must first grab hold of the understanding of influence. It’s a great power that each of you possesses. To reference another superhero movie, as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker in Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

I want you to take hold of that great responsibility. I want to begin to help encourage you to embrace and effectively utilize your influence, to effect positive change and a positive future in your youth.

For the rest of this month, we will do just that, by diving into the 4 A’s of influence: Acknowledge, Appreciation, Application, and Abuse.

Understanding these four foundational principles will help position you on the right path to becoming the effective mentor your youth need you to be.

Come back next week and learn about the first two A’s of Influence: Acknowledge and Appreciate.


Think about your life and those mentors who helped shape you into the person you are today. What kind of memories come to mind about those experiences? How have you “paid it forward” with the young people of this generation. Let me know in the comments section below.


Visit and learn the 3 A’s of Influence and get a free gift to jump-start or revitalize your mentor journey.

Terrence Jakes

Written by

A late-blooming creative ready to follow the call.

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