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People stream in from a messy line. Some of them wear intricately embroidered suits, some wear white, and some are simply in a hoodie and jeans. It’s exciting — it feels like the entire city has come to see this movie!

A Drumline, Gasps and Ruth E. Carter — Inside The Atlanta Premiere of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

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The Fox Theatre feels placed like a strangely gorgeous wooden block in a child’s fantasy city. It’s huge, and when you’re waiting outside of it, it makes for quite a weird scene. The buildings around the theatre are beautiful as well, reminiscent of architecture from a different time, and it’s disconcerting knowing that there are fast-food restaurants and vape stores right down the street. The Fox Theatre doesn’t allow you to think about it for too long though. Its’ radiance seems to sweep you to a different world. 

Bright lights surround you, the bustling action of Peachtree Street never rests —after all, but the brightest lights come from the theatre itself. A screen over the entrance yells CAST AND CREW SCREENING and there are two signs on the sides of the theatre as well, proudly displaying the poster for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

People stream in from a messy line. Some of them wear intricately embroidered suits, some wear white, and some are simply in a hoodie and jeans. It’s exciting — it feels like the entire city has come to see this movie!

You obviously don’t know any of the people in the line, but the banner above inspires excitement. Are some of these people in the movie? Will you be able to remember their faces well enough to catch a glimpse? (No, but that doesn’t stop the eagerness).

The whole ordeal is very fancy, with guards ushering people in and cameras flashing left and right. In order to get into the theatre, you must pass through an entrance stuffed full of people. To your left is a red carpet (a red carpet!), and everyone taking pictures is gorgeous. You can see everyone’s excited smiles.

The film is without a doubt the thing that has everyone buzzing, but over in the corner of the lobby, two mannequins are on display. It takes a while to make your way over, but the figures become clear. They’re two iconic costumes from the film, designed by Ruth E. Carter herself (we’ll get back to her in a bit).

Inside the theatre it takes a while for everyone to get settled down. The hum of chatter continues when suddenly, a patch of the crowd quiets. Most are sitting confused for a second —until a booming instrument calls out.

It’s a drumline! 

Cymbals crash, and a startling variety of drums boom. Then again, it is a drumline. The NeXus drumline — made up of local teenage musicians — moves confidently through the aisles, booming music filling the air. After they’re finished, the place is practically pulsing with energy.

The film’s Oscar-winning costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, takes to the stage to introduce the movie. As the lights dimmed and the projected movie poster was replaced by the face of lead actress Letitia Wright, the Fox became hushed and everyone’s eyes were attached to the screen.

Throughout the movie, the crowd seemed to act as a collective, reacting with roaring laughter or astonished gasps in unison. The movie was simply enchanting, from the characters to the visuals, and seeing it should be your first priority this holiday season.

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