In the months leading up to the release of Black Panther, I could already tell that this was going to be one of those Marvel movies I’d see multiple times in theaters. And then after its in-home release, I’d watch it anytime I happened to come across it on TV. But never in a million years did I predict that I’d somehow end up watching it at Snoop Dogg’s compound days before it actually came out on DVD and Blu-Ray. But that’s exactly what happened, and I’m still shook from the whole experience.
It all started at the beginning of this week, after a long, exhausting Monday of work when I got an email in my inbox that night that made me do a double take. “Snoop Dogg is hosting a private screening of Black Panther at his compound this Thursday. Would love to have you attend!” I almost knocked my glass of water onto my laptop in my frenzy to reply with a resounding “Yes!” Because when you’re invited to watch Black Panther at Snoop’s *compound* (real talk though: what is a compound?), you don’t say no.
Having never stepped foot onto a compound of any kind (I need cooler friends in my life, clearly), I had no idea what to expect. So when my Lyft pulled up to a nondescript corporate-looking building in Inglewood — so close to LAX that I thought a plane was literally about to touchdown on my head — I thought I had the wrong address. But the security guard peaking his head over the ultra electronic gate told me yes, I was in the right place, and yes, I was about to breathe the same (ahem, marijuana-laced) air as the D-O-double-G himself. Giddy with excitement, I watched as the gate opened to a parking lot full of the coolest, most expensive cars I’ve ever seen in one place (even a “Snoop Dogg” branded school bus!) and a party fit for a Wakandan king.
First I was gifted a swag bag with a Blu-Ray copy of Black Panther and a Black Panther snapback hat, which I will be buried in (thanks Marvel and Disney!). Then I was hit with the overwhelming smell of weed permeating the air of the entire party. Yeah, this was definitely Snoop’s place. After exploring the outdoor grounds — with a FatBurger food truck, Taste of Wakanda open bar, movie concession table, all for free! — where we’d be watching the film later, drive-in style, I decided to push my luck and explore what surprises lay inside.
And you guys, Snoop has a literal Green Room. Although it may sound like it, I’m not making any of this up. A full soundstage painted green, ready to be transformed into whatever Snoop wants it to be for music videos or TV shows or movies, was almost completely empty inside, save for a shelf full of the softest fuzzy blankets you’ve ever felt…and tons and tons of joints. I would later find out both supplies would be handed out to everyone in attendance for when the movie started. Snoop, the host with the most!
But once I ventured deeper inside, I found the inner sanctum. Winding halls lit with a deep purple light illuminated a giant N.W.A. mural along with countless other Snoop posters of all his achievements through his long and legendary career. This was like the literal Snoop Dogg hall of fame and I kept having to pinch myself to remember that this wasn’t a dream and I was actually here.
But the movie was about to start and there was no way I was going to miss one second of it! I grabbed my seat in the very front row, draped myself in my fuzzy blanket and watched as men handed out joints to everyone in their seats (as a non-partaker in that kind of party favor I didn’t get one of my own, but the contact high I got from everyone around me was more than enough proof that our gracious host didn’t settle for the cheap stuff). In front of those of us seated in the chairs next to the space heaters were all the cars parked for the drive-in experience…and these were not your run-of-the-mill cars. Lexus, Porsche, any luxury car brand you can think of, they were all represented. But I couldn’t dwell on that for long because Snoop had arrived.
As the host of the night, Snoop got on the mic to thank us all for coming out to watch Black Panther with him and celebrate the milestone achievement in filmmaking that it truly is. As a champion of this particular MCU outing and what it means for little girls and boys everywhere to see themselves finally represented in a big superhero movie, he spoke about how it’s important to watch it over and over again. We were happy to oblige — armed with our green glowing headphones synced up to the movie, we watched Wakanda come to life as Snoop got into one of the OG classic cars in the front.
And as incredible as I thought Black Panther was the first two times around, nothing will ever beat my third, knowing that a few feet in front of me Snoop was also cheering for Shuri flipping the bird at her big bro, laughing at M’Baku’s vegetarian quip and lusting after Killmonger’s museum fashion. Oh, that last one was just me?