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SavArtScene: Deep Center explores Afrofuturism, ‘Black Panther’ film


Who would have thought that a superhero movie based on a comic book character from the fictitious African nation of Wakanda would produce such a seismic socio-cultural shift as “Black Panther” has? While box office receipts tell one story, the cultural impact of the film is arguably the more important story.

Locally the film has impacted the teen authors in the Deep Center’s Block by Block program in some meaningful ways. Deep is the award-winning nonprofit that provides free after-school creative writing workshops for Chatham County public school students. Block by Block is an advanced, year-long program that supports high-school aged authors to “research, document and tell the past and present stories of their families, streets and community through creative writing and art.”

Evolutionary moment

The teens in Block by Block engage with their community in hands-on ways to give a voice to stories that might not otherwise have been told and to highlight Savannah’s cultural assets and its civic challenges. In the course of a recent Block by Block writing exercise, program director Keith Miller encountered a student who was steadfastly resistant to writing nonfiction. The student was a fan of science fiction and wanted to communicate through that medium. Since Miller wasn’t particularly well-versed in the sci-fi genre, he sat down with the student to understand the perspective and concerns.

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