Rain check! Kevin de León just postponed ‘Wakanda Forever’ screening after uproar
Hours after announcing a screening of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” embattled Los Angeles Councilmember Kevin de León postponed the event due to “rainy weather.”
De Léon, who was previously recorded taking part in a racist conversation in which fellow council members made disparaging remarks about Black people, had posted Monday afternoon that he would host the screening on Tuesday. He quickly changed his mind, apparently unaware that criticism was starting to mount online.
“Due to the next heavy storm and continued rainy weather, we have decided to reschedule the screening of Wakanda Forever for another date,” De León wrote on Facebook. “Our primary concern is everyone’s safety, and we believe that postponing the event is the best decision at this time.”
Voters in De León’s council district disapprove of the job he’s doing, have an unfavorable impression of him personally and believe the embattled council member puts his own interests ahead of theirs, new poll finds.
Five people had RSVP’d for the event on Facebook by the time the screening was rescheduled, but many more online questioned the council member’s decision to host the film..
“LA City Councilmember Kevin de León — who was recorded having a racist conversation with other former City Councilmembers stating their intention to disenfranchise Black LA residents — will be having a screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on February 28,” Knock LA reporter Jon Peltz tweeted Monday afternoon.
“Can’t decide if it’s funnier KDL squeezed this event on the last day of Black history month or that he thinks screening a Marvel movie will heal his racism against Black Angelenos,” one user wrote in response to Peltz’s tweet.
In 2018, “Black Panther” became the first Marvel Studios movie with a Black director (Ryan Coogler) and a mostly Black cast. It was hailed for putting a stoic Black superhero (played by the late Chadwick Boseman) front and center in the utopian African city known as Wakanda.
Its sequel, 2022’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” — which has won numerous awards, particularly for star Angela Bassett — followed Wakanda’s leaders as they fight to protect their territory from opportunistic challengers.
Pete Brown, a representative for De León, told The Times on Monday the idea for the “Wakanda Forever” screening came up in January. The council member wanted to do an event to “raise awareness for kids, especially in Black and brown communities.” Brown said he hadn’t seen the backlash on Twitter, and reaffirmed plans to reschedule once the weather improves.
“We get those voices all the time about that,” he said of the criticism De Léon sparked.
Since audio leaked of a racist conversation between Kevin de León and fellow L.A. City Council members, he has said he must stay in office to help the city heal. But by tending to his own wounds, he keeps ours from closing.
In October, an anonymous Reddit user leaked an incendiary conversation between De León, former council president Nury Martinez, former councilmember Gil Cedillo and former Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
In that conversation, which took place in October 2021, De León called former councilmember Mike Bonin the council’s “fourth Black member,” and accused Bonin of treating his adopted son, who is Black, like how Martinez carried her luxury handbags.
Column: Voters in Kevin de León’s district support recalling him. Now comes the hard part
If De León serves out the rest of his term like he plans to, then Angelenos have no one to blame but themselves.
De León previously called his comments “wholly inappropriate,” and has resisted calls to resign from his fellow council members as protesters disrupted numerous council meetings. He is the only member who took part in the conversation who has not stepped down or been termed out.
A petition to recall De León, who was censured in October, was cleared to begin gathering signatures in December.
A representative from Disney, which hosts “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” on its Disney+ streaming service, did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.
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