Why is this topic important to me? Well ’cause I grew up watching comic book heroes on tv and doing so helped me escape the hardships in my household. I may have mentioned in the previous post, “Superheros and Mental Health” I grew up in a domestic abusive household and I often felt powerless and powerless. But seeing hero and heroines overcome their own battles (including within) gave me the courage to overcome my troubles. So, I wasn’t interested in becoming the princess who waited for the prince to arrive, but rather the woman who had the power to change course of her life…and still get a man. But you know what??? There wasn’t even lot of heroines and worse there wasn’t even a lot of Black heroines or even other heroines of color. The biggest one I knew was…Storm.
This is the “Storm” I knew back in the 90s when X-Men was on “Fox Kids” Her style was as fierce as she was and she was STILL classy. I liked that about her.
Hero without Her: Where My Superheroines At?
This was the 90’s where pretty much the gender norms were still alive and kicking, which meant only white,young boys and of course, the stereotypical nerdy man living in their mother’s basement, could only read comic books and show interest in action figures. I didn’t fit ANY of those categories growing up, so you can imagine how hard that could have been for a young Black girl who came from a dysfunctional household.
Fast forward to the future…holy crap the superhero movies now days…whoo! Frozen what???? Elsa who??? I think these movies would have heavily gained my interest as a young girl…especially seeing all these incredible heroines… I would have wanted every action figure and dolls from those films. Even if they didn’t possess super powers or they weren’t the main leads, they were incredible, intelligent women I would have admired…haha! Like I’m not already…but it would have been overwhelming for me as a child.
Wasp was AMAZING in this movie!
I mean not too long ago, “Black Panther” the film adaptation of one Marvel’s superheroes, Black Panther, made $1.344 BILLION dollars! I mean…this one of the few films that had so much hype but actually delivered, but I gotta say when you have movie veterans like Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker and up and coming actors like Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyongo and then you have Danai Gurira too??? I knew it was going to be a great film. It was also a good way to show Hollywood, that yes…if you make a great film and cast it with all Black actors you can still make the big bucks. Thankfully “Black Panther” was an already well known character in the Marvel Universe.
I knew my inner five year old was squealing for joy when I first watched this movie. There were people who looked like me, wearing and styling the hair as I would my own and the women who did such an incredible job with the action scenes… Black actors who first once depicted as thugs, whores, drug dealers or maids or servants were now superheroes—at least to mainstream America, ESPECIALLY Hollywood. The funny thing was even though Erik Killmonger, who looked more like a thug than anyone in the film, had such a rich and complex character, that even you would feel for him. Nobody even called him a thug. I think he’s one of the villains you could relate with or sympathize for even if you weren’t Black. Yeah there has always been a Black villain, but none that been have more portrayed well as in this film by Michael B. Jordan. Black folks seemed to be always been portrayed as villains, because well… of the color our skin (especially if you’re dark skinned). So for the first time, I enjoyed watching a Black villain without feeling portrayed incorrectly as a person of color.
But lately, there’s been just this nastiness towards such talented group of women in such reknown and popular tv shows
Colorism, Ageism, Sexism, Racism: What’s With All The “-Isms” Toward Actors?
When I see young actresses, especially actresses of color bullied, it pisses me off. To think that a certain group of people think it’s okay to say deplorable sh*tty comments. Anyways, actresses like Kelly Marie Tran, Millie Bobby Brown, and Anna Diop are just to a few names to mention who have faced harassment online, but regardless, they are fighting to good fight to end online bullying:
Kelly Marie Tran
Being that her character, Rose Tico, the first Asian-American woman in the Star Wars franchise (and apparently in the Star Wars Universe) has faced a lot of harassment from the darkside of the Star Wars Fandom and shut down her Instagram. However this past August, she resurfaced and gave such a powerful narrative about growing up as a Vietnamese Women in a world that tells her that she isn’t good enough and learning to find the importance of loving herself in the New York Times article, “Kelly Marie Tran: I Won’t Be Marginalized by Online Harassment.” Here’s an excerpt:
I had been brainwashed into believing that my existence was limited to the boundaries of another person’s approval. I had been tricked into thinking that my body was not my own, that I was beautiful only if someone else believed it, regardless of my own opinion. I had been told and retold this by everyone: by the media, by Hollywood, by companies that profited from my insecurities, manipulating me so that I would buy their clothes, their makeup, their shoes, in order to fill a void that was perpetuated by them in the first place.
We’ve all felt this way at one point of the other. And I’m glad she’s not letting haters drag her back.
Millie Bobby Brown
How the hell do people bully a 14 year old??? Like for real? Only miserable sorry excuse of a human being…that’s who.
See, Miss. Brown is a supporter the LGBTQ community, but to make her look homophobic (and apparently to hate on her success on a great character ) and even sometimes racist, they made the hashtag, #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown (Gutierrez, 2018). One user was part of that nonsense said the hashtag was meant to be “satirical”, but how the f*** is making racial and homophobic comments “satirical”??? Especially towards a young woman???It’s so sad to see the amount of “excuses” on the rise these days.
The crazy thing is this…”Strange Things” is about outcasts…nerds…who come together and with the bond of their strong friendship, save their little town of Hawkins, Indiana (perhaps the world too) mired by conspiracy by the U.S. Government. Yet…we have some asshats don’t seem to reflect what “Stranger Things” is about.
Miss. Brown wasn’t able to make it to the MTV Movie & TV Awards in August this year, because of a knee injury, but she did make an appearance via video and made an acceptance speech. Here is an except (Carras, 2018):
“Since I know there are many young people watching this — and even for the adults, too — they could probably use the reminder that I was taught: if you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say it,” Brown said in the video. “There should be no space in this world for bullying, and I’m not going to tolerate it, and neither should any of you.”
Only 14 and she’s already so well-spoken for.
The only things I have say about Miss. Brown are these:
- She can be dressed a bit mature for her age. While I don’t agree a woman (even an up in coming one) shouldn’t always be judged by what they wear, I feel like in a sense, her clothes is wearing her and she has to primped up to match up to it. Look…young girls at their age (I work with kids and when I work with them, memories come back) are already going through enough growing pains, let them gradually grow into the woman they are meant to be. They have the rest of their lives to be a woman.
- She kind of reminds me a young Natalie Portman. Like…she could be like a kid cousin or maybe a 2nd or 3rd cousin of hers. I know. I’m weird.
But when I have my own teenager one day, they are NOT getting a smart phone or social media. If they do have social media, I HAVE to follow them. There’s too much crap for young people to handle. I know this being an adult myself…the amount of information on the internet is overwhelming… so what about for a young child/adolescent these days?
She is cast for a DC series on the newest streaming service, DC Universe, “Titans” She has been facing backlash for basically being “the wrong type” of Black. But Starfire (even I didn’t know it) was originally (especially in her physique) Black (Johnson, 2018)! What?! I’ve been lied to this whole time???
Well the thing was she was always “designed” as white woman, (even though she was orange) because apparently Black women can’t be attractive.
Not that don’t mind Halle Berry, because I have MUCH love for her, but the reason why she is perhaps always cast (as if she is the only Black actress in Hollywood), is because her skin color is ambiguous. “Ambiguous” as in Black actresses like Halle Berry, who won’t make racist audiences, especially racist nerds (which almost sounds like an oxymoron) lose their freakin’ mind by seeing dark women on the silver screen. I’m calling it how I see it, because unless you grown up as a young Black girl or you are just a human being who is disappointed by the lack of diversity in the world of pop culture, it is infuriating. It really is. Hollywood has been too caught up in trying to make other audiences feel comfortable, while excluding other audience members especially women, people of color, disabilities, and LGBTQIA community. I mean…hello??? Does Hollywood really think the world is THAT small? Although the characters and sometimes the situations are fictional, does that mean there cannot be a fictional representation of other human beings too?
The ONLY thing I don’t like about Anna Diop’s Starfire is what looked like a “crimped” hairstyle. I mean really??? I know some Black women can rock orange hair, but geez…the hairstylist just a horrible job. Even it’s a wig or a weave…no. That’s, that’s just wrong. Is the hairstylist Black?
The Inclusiveness of Pop Culture: It’s There
What I have loved about pop culture it has provided a gateway to meet with other nerds (especially like nerds like myself who are introverted)….This is immensely awesome especially when attending comic book conventions. It’s a great way for me–speaking for myself at least–to get out of my anxiety and is one of the few times I’m willing to tolerate large crowds (unfortunately I can’t say the same for b.o. around there). And like I’ve mentioned before, pop culture is one of the ways that help me better voice my experiences living with mental illness and life after sexual assault. On topics like these, sometimes, there is no easy way to talk about them and the shows and movies I watch, helps me to better voice it.
The good thing as a nation—ESPECIALLY these days—is how people are standing up towards deep seated issues like injustice, sexism, and racism. Having such discussions will hopefully encourage Hollywood (and hopefully other industries will follow suit) to put more people of color in great roles, not just ones of the “best friend” or the “nerd” or the “token friend.” You name it, I’ve seen it. Heck, you’ve seen it. Nowdays I’m seeing young people of color, especially young Black girls showcase their favorite superheroes on their backpacks or sweatshirts. I can’t help but to smile when I see that, because while we have come a long way to seeing representation on the big and small screen, we still have ways to go.
I’d like to close this post with another except from Ms. Tran’s article:
I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white. I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence. I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings.
Carras, C. (2018) Millie Bobby Brown Takes on Bullies at MTV Awards Twitter Exit. Retrieved from: https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/millie-bobby-brown-acceptance-speech-bullying-mtv-awards-twitter-exit-1202850220/
Gutierrez, L. (2018). After Homephobic bullying, “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown Quits Twitter. Retrieved from: https://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/article213175069.html
Johnson, J (2018). Racist Comic Fans Titan Star Off Instagram For Not Being The Right Type of Black. Retrieved From: https://www.theroot.com/racist-comic-fans-run-titans-star-off-instagram-for-not-1827809010/amp?__twitter_impression=true
Tran, K. (2018). Kelly Marie Tran: I Won’t Be Marginalized by Online Harassment. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/movies/kelly-marie-tran.html
Kelly Marie Tran: I Won’t Be Marginalized by Online Harassment
Millie Bobby Brown Takes on Bullies at MTV Awards After Twitter Exit
Racist Comic Fans Run Titans Star Off Instagram for Not Being the Right Kind of Black
Sorry Racist Nerds, But Starfire Is a Black Woman
Posts on My Take of Pop Culture:
Superheroes and Pop Culture
The Fandom Menace: The Dark Side of the Star Wars Fanbase