By Alexia Fernandez
February 17, 2018 at 10:35 AM EST
Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images
  • Movie

Serena Williams is surprising and inspiring some of her youngest fans.

The tennis champion, 36, shared a sweet photo of a group of Black Girls Code students who attended a private screening of Marvel’s Black Panther on Thursday night.

Williams shared a photo of the group on Instagram with the caption, “Last night we surprised a group of girls from @blackgirlscode to watch black panther with me in a private screening. We loved the movie and had an awesome time! @alexisohanian thanks!!”

Black Girls Code is a non-profit organization that provides technology education to African-American girls, encouraging them to learn how to code.

What the students were not aware of was that they’d be watching the film with Williams and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, 34.

Ohanian shared a video of the moment students screamed in delight when Williams walked out, writing, “That moment when the @blackgirlscode students we invited to the Initialized Capital private screening of the #BlackPanther premiere realize they’re going to watch the film with a real-life superhero, @serenawilliams (full IG Live Story on her profile).”

Williams welcomed the girls to the screening and talked about how momentous an occasion it was to see a Marvel film headlined by predominantly African American cast.

“I’m glad you guys could make it out, obviously this is a huge moment for us,” she said. “For black people, we’ve never had a superhero movie so I’m so excited. I feel like I’ve waited my whole life for this.”

RELATED VIDEO: Angela Bassett on Black Panther’s Emotional Message for African-Americans

She continued, “We’re happy that we got together with Black Girls Code to bring you guys out, I’m glad you guys came!”

Angela Bassett broke down why Black Panther is much more than just a comic-book movie to PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on People TV).

“It’s something that we’ve … never seen it before,” the actress said.

Bassett, 59, who stars as the Queen Mother of Wakanda, said the film offers a long-overdue depiction of people of color in proud roles.

“We would tell our kids you’re of kings and of queens,” she explained. “We try to instill a sense of pride, and this is that moment where we can look on that screen and see all of that history that we’ve read — that if we’ve been privileged to go back to the motherland to experience — to see it manifested onscreen for the first time.

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Black Panther

Directed by Ryan Coogler, the 2018 superhero film is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the king who rules over the Afrofuturist paradise of Wakanda.
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 135 minutes
  • Ryan Coogler
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