Where Are All the POC in Horror Movies? — Dark Matters

“The irony is: being black in America lends itself very well to the horror genre because every day is a potential horror movie.”

via Where Are All the POC in Horror Movies? — Dark Matters

The irony is: being black in America lends itself very well to the horror genre because every day is a potential horror movie. We’ve seen time and time again how a seemingly safe, casual moment can turn deadly in the blink of an eye.

 

28 Days Later (2002): The Evolution of Selena

This was number four of the five Black Women in Horror reviews I wanted to do for October.

When I first saw this movie I had no idea who Naomie Harris was. I ‘d heard about the movie in a magazine and I was already a Cillian Murphy fan, having loved him in Kinky Boots, so I was pretty much just watching the movie for him. Naomie Harris came out of nowhere and just killed it. Literally!

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Now, I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent, and mention once again, that this is why we need diverse reviewers of Pop Culture. When I read the early reviews of this movie, all of the focus was on Murphy, which is understandable, because his star was definitely on the rise at the time, and people were enamored of him. (He is very pretty!) But Selena was barely mentioned, and I feel some type of way about that. I think if I had known there was  an awesome Black woman in this movie, I would’ve paid more attention to her.

And people really should pay attention to Selena. In fact, I would argue that though the film is from Jim’s point of view, the movie is really about Selena, and Jim, as they both grow and change, and adopt what the other thought of as each other’s worst traits to survive. Selena grows from someone who is cold and calloused, who disparages Jim’s compassion for others, into someone warm and compassionate, willing to love and let herself be loved. Jim grows from someone who is too trusting and idealistic, and saying he could never live the way Selena has been living, into someone willing to fight and kill for the people he loves.

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When we first meet Selena, she is essentially  the Sapphire stereotype, of a cold an unfeeling Black woman. She loves no one, isn’t capable of loving anyone, and is angry, cold, and bitter, saying she would cut Jim loose, in a hot second, the moment he jeopardized her survival. That her anger and bitterness is justified is not made specifically clear, but she has reason. Her entire world and life has been destroyed. She believes the only thing worth doing is surviving, for survival’s sake. She is unlikable at first, (and Jim says as much), but she grows into a  more sympathetic character as the plot moves forward. Selena is the co-protagonist of this movie. She has a definite character arc, and her decisions  help to carry the plot.

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Jim wakes up alone in a hospital and discovers that the entire city of London has been evacuated because of a disease called Rage, which makes the infected viciously attack anyone they encounter. When he meets Selena, she really isn’t all that different from the infected herself, violent and quite vicious. She is travelling with another young man, who is accidentally infected, and Jim witnesses the brutal manner with which the uninfected, like Selena, have had to deal with the situation. She is cold, and incompassionate, and does not want to get attached to him. Nevertheless, she agrees to travel with him because she doesn’t want to be alone. Being alone is not good for survival either, it seems.

Over the course of the movie, she does get attached to him, and the young daughter of a family they meet in their travels., named Hannah. When they encounter an AWOL military company, who threaten to imprison and rape her and the girl, and execute Jim, they both have to use all their wits and bravery to save themselves, but ultimately it’s Selena’s attachment to her new family, and his love for her, that’s saves all of them. One of the most poignant moments in the movie is when Selena, unable to prevent their degradation from the soldiers, offers Hannah drugs to survive what’s about to happen. Not because she’s trying to hurt her, but so Hannah won’t care what’s happening. The woman who was willing to cut anyone loose, who impinged on her survival, offers to do this from a place of compassion.

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I initially didn’t like Selena, and it took some time for me to understand that that was the point. The things she says to Jim when they first meet are mean and callous. She is a hardened woman, and he rightfully chides her for it, telling her he can’t live that way. Ironically, he has to become  hardened, and more than a little brutal himself, if he wants to save the woman he’s fallen in love with. He brutally slaughters all the soldiers he meets in an effort to find and rescue the two women. Selena, in turn, has to adopt the qualities she hated in Jim, when they first met, if she wants to save Hannah, and herself.

In the end, Selena and Jim declare their love for each other when he walks through a nightmarish landscape of screaming zombies, and military men, to rescue her and Hannah, and I am totally here for it, as it echoes the plot of Django Unchained, which was based on Siegfried’s Story from the German opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen. Siegfried, who rides through a ring of fire, in a locked tower, to save the Shieldmaiden Brunhilde, and make her his wife. Selena could be classified as a Shieldmaiden like Brunhilde. She is a warrior, who at first only fought for her own survival , but later fights for those she loves, Jim and Hannah.

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If Selena were White, it would be insulting to see her dameseled in such a fashion, but since we so rarely get to see Black women be vulnerable and loved, but still brave and smart, it overturns the stereotypical narrative of the strong Black woman, who don’t need no man. At the beginning of the movie she declares she doesn’t need anyone, but she is wrong. Hannah tells her midway through the movie, that they all need each other, and by that point Selena is willing to accept that.

The movie has three different endings. In the first ending, which was not filmed,  everyone arrived at a research medical center, and gets trapped there. The second involved Jim dying in the hospital, with Hannah and Selena continuing their journey without him. The third ending involved Jim waking up in the hospital to discover it was all nothing more than a dream. The director decided to go with the more positive ending we eventually got, of Hannah, Jim, and Selena  being rescued.

28 Days Later was the best zombie movie released that year, so it got a lot of attention, not just for Murphy’s presence, and its fast zombies, but because of the multiple endings. If you have no quarrel with zombies that are not strictly zombies, then this is an excellent film to add to your zombie film collection.

It won’t be October, but I’m still going to do that last review, which is N’Bushe Wright from Blade.

 

The Girl with All The Gifts (2016)

This is the first of my five posts reviewing horror movies where the stars are Black women, all part of the Graveyard Shift Sisters posts on 31 Black Women of Horror, for the month of October.

Okay, despite the fact that I read the book, I still didn’t know what to expect from the movie. I should have because the movie is mostly very faithful to the source material. It had not occurred to me that the filmmakers would do the thing, and make Melanie a little Black girl. I loved the character’s voice in the book and was looking forward to whoever they would cast as she would be carrying the movie, and I’m glad the director made that decision.

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When the writer, M.R. Carey was asked about the development of the movie he stated:

‘We went a slightly different way in the movie, especially when it came to point of view. Where the novel moves between the five main characters and lets us see what’s going on in all of their heads, the movie sticks with Melanie all the way. And there are no Junkers in the movie. The base falls to a hungry attack. But it’s a case of two different paths through the same narrative space. The ending is absolutely faithful to the book.’

— M.R. Carey, in an interview with Mom Advice[7]

The plot of the movie is very faithful to the source, so if you’ve read the book, you know the ending. Most of humanity has succumbed to fungal spores and become what are known as “Hungries”. ( Basically they’re zombies. They attack and eat people. (This is not  unprecedented in nature, as there are actually fungal spores that infect hosts, and force the hosts to  propagate itself.)  Some of the zombies are intelligent, and Melanie is one of the smartest ones.

Melanie, and a group of like children, all of whom were infected in utero, are being taught, studied, and experimented on, at a specially guarded facility, by Dr. Caldwell, played by Glen Close. She is attempting to find a cure for the fungal infection by vivisecting  the children’s brains, and Melanie is her star pupil. One of Melanie’s teachers is Ms. Justineau with whom Melanie develops a close  relationship.

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Melanie is played by the unknown Sennia Nanua, and she is absolutely perfect. She doesn’t try to play Melanie as sinister, or evil. She’s just like any other regular little girl, smiling, curious about the world , and happy, until her hunger is triggered. Those scenes are shocking in their viciousness. We watch Melanie attack and bite people, and at one point she captures and eats a cat. Although the movie has kids in it, it is not for children. Her behavior isn’t sugar-coated  or glossed over, and the soldiers are correct to be afraid of Melanie, as her Hunger appears to be something she seems to control. Gemma Arterton is great as Justineau, and I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Melanie.

Justineau doesn’t try to control, or change Melanie, seems to accept Melanie just as she is, and unlike the soldiers, seems unafraid of her. She doesn’t seem to want Melanie for what Melanie can provide for her like Caldwell. Seeming to genuinely love and care for her, worrying about her safety when she’s not around. The two of them seemed to have formed a real and loving bond, and that bond between them, goes a long way towards the audience accepting Melanie for who and what she is, too.

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Justineau was constantly cautioned against attaching herself to the children she is teaching, but  she seems unable (or unwilling) to do so with Melanie. There are several scenes of the soldiers being verbally abusive to the children in their care, in order to teach Justineau to avoid them, but Justineau always behaves towards them with dignity and respect.

 

When the facility is overrun by Hungries, Melanie and Justineau escape inside a mobile lab, with some other soldiers. Caldwell, who has been bitten by one of the Hungries has developed sepsis, but still continues her experiments. The soldiers are wary that Melanie will turn on them so they make her wear a muzzle ala Hannibal Lecter.

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They soldiers fear her but Melanie is useful because she can walk among the infected with impunity. In their travels, they use Melanie to lure the Hungries away from them so that they can more successfully forage for supplies. Melanie uses that time as an opportunity to feed. During her explorations she encounters a group of feral infected children who have formed a gang to hunt  any wayward humans.

In one of the movie’s most exhilarating moments Melanie challenges and kills the gang’s leader, and commands the gang afterward, keeping them in line with the threat of her strength and ruthlessness. I’m not sure how to feel about these scenes. On the one hand, I applaud Melanie’s ability to survive and be a leader. On the other hand, I’m witnessing children committing shocking acts of violence, which is something I’m just not used to seeing. I generally avoid movies where children are killing each other. Melanie’s leadership of this gang is something that will come into play at the end of the movie.

I have to admit I felt some type of way about watching this little Black girl kicking ass, and being so vicious, because that actress looks so sweet and innocent, when she’s not doing those things. I can only guess that’s why this particular actress was chosen. There’s also the stereotype of the vicious Black brute, who is uncivilized and must be controlled, restrained, and made useful, which is illustrated in Melanie having to wear a plastic muzzle for at least half the film. All of Melanie’s captors are White, and with the exception of Ms. Justineau, they are all deeply frightened of her, which gives this movie a  disturbing racial angle, that it would not  have otherwise had, if Melanie had been cast as a little White girl. Her Blackness gives the end of this movie  a wholly different meaning, which I’ll have to discuss in another post.

There’s very little wasted space in this film, which is less than two hours, but feels   longer because the director takes time to have quiet moments to explore Melanie’s world from her point of view. She is in nearly every frame, she is the one around which the other characters revolve, and she moves the plot forward with the decisions she makes, especially the last one.

I considered giving away the ending of the movie, because I wanted to discuss how groundbreaking this is, but if you’ve read the book you already know it, and if you haven’t, I really don’t want to rob you of your feelings (and you will have some) when you see it for yourself, as everything that happens in 90 minutes of the movie is what leads up to Melanie’s final decision.

This is an excellent movie to watch on Halloween night along with, 28 Days Later, and Train to Busan, two other films that have WoC dealing with a zombie apocalypse.

28 Days Later will be my next review.

ETA: The Website featuring this list is available at the Graveyard Shift Sisters.

http://www.graveyardshiftsisters.com/2017/09/watch-31-horror-movies-starring-black.html

 

Tumblr Fandom Antics 1

 

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*This is an perfect example of the kind of wtf*ery I was talking about when I mentioned, that unless PoC were useful to White fans, they get vilified in the fandom. Here, Nick Fury is unnecessarily demeaned by of all people, Bucky, when the two of them have never interacted in canon. It becomes obvious that Bucky’s sentiments in this ficlet are really just a stand-in for the  writer’s hatred of Nick Fury.  I am an accomplished enough reader to be able to tell the difference, between a writer’s opinions, and his character’s opinions, most of the time. 

Anonymous asked:

Imagine Bucky finding out Nick Fury is alive. Can he settle between being simultaneously offended and relieved?

imaginebucky answered:

“That motherfucker,” are the first words out of Bucky’s mouth when Natasha drops the file on the table. A black and white picture of Nick on a beach floats out of the thick folder; he’s in sunglasses, reading what looks like a case file from a lounge chair.

“How do you know Fury?” She asks. “I don’t think you would’ve found the time to, uh. Chat.”

“You mean while I was shooting at him?” Bucky says, lacing his tone with acidic sweetness. Steve, sitting on his other side, rubs a hand over his face and sighs. This, this is why they’d waited to bring it up. Piecing together Bucky’s last decades has been a daily trial, but they need it – and he wants it – to remember, so it can end.

Natasha opens her mouth, then shuts it, and opts to shrug. Bucky picks up the photo. The way Nick is sitting you can’t see any damage to his chest, and his leg isn’t splinted any more. He looks healthy. Younger. “I don’t know him,” Bucky mumbles. “We’ve never met.”

“He’s underground,” Steve offers. “Very underground.”

“Don’t matter.” Bucky flips the photo over and leans far back in his chair, letting his long hair fall into his eyes. “Tried to kill him. Thought I did. What kind of asshole just lets you think they’ve died, anyway?”

Steve catches Natasha’s eye and she scowls. “You get used to it.”

stitchmediamix:

Bucky has never been okay about what he did while under the control of Hydra and how easily he’s able to be controlled because of their mind-control and brainwashing stuff. That’s literally why he did what he did at the end of Civil War, because he regretted what he’d done (even though he wasn’t in control) and how it hurt the people around him and couldn’t be sure that it wouldn’t happen again.

So what do you do?

You write a story where all of these white people sit around judging Nick Fury for not sucking up to the man who tried to murder him. (And you have Steve and Natasha judging him like they wouldn’t understand faking his death when a white supremacist organization has already tried to murder him in public once before.)

You write a story that ignores MCU canon and Bucky’s personality so that you can demonize a Black man for moving on from the Avengers and living his life.

You write a story that doesn’t even make sense from line to line (like what even are you doing with Bucky’s moods here).

There’s no reason why Bucky would be so annoyed by Nick’s continuing survival since he doesn’t know the man or have any beef with him. Hydra’s vendetta was not his vendetta and there is no actual reason in canon for any of the Avengers to hate Nick Fury. None. There’s no reason for him to decide that Nick owes it to him to go “hey, I’m alive” despite the fact that they have never interacted outside him BLOWING NICK FURY UP AND TRYING TO KILL HIM.

To you, you’re just writing a “cute and quirky” epilogue that allows you to address Nick Fury’s absence. It’s not a big deal. But to people (all fans, not just Black ones) who are fans of Nick Fury in the MCU, it’s indicative of how fandom can’t just let Black characters live.

(See how Sam Wilson went from Nanny figure and Team Therapist to an asshole that’d hurt poor, innocent Bucky because he can’t bring himself to get over how Bucky has attacked him multiple times as of CACW.)

I’m not surprised though because fandom has been vilifying Nick Fury since he showed up and didn’t suck up to everyone’s respective favorite white characters.

When they’re not making him the desexualized team dad, fandom has been writing him as a manipulative lying bastard who just wants to keep Stucky/Stony/Clintasha/Starcy apart because he’s mean like that. There are next to ZERO Nick Fury stories in the MCU that don’t tear his character to shreds in order to make white characters look better.

What you’re doing here with your story crapping on Nick Fury for literally living isn’t anything new. It’s antiblack as fuck, annoying as hell and played out, but it’s definitely not new.

Maybe rethink the next time you get a message like this, because for Black fans of Bucky andNick Fury? This is just a slap in the face that once again tells us that we’re not welcome and characters that look like us don’t belong.

And if you seriously don’t understand where you went wrong and why this is upsetting, readTHIS POST and click on all the links. Mkay? Because this sort of thing is NOT OKAY.

*stitchmediamix

Imagine Bucky understanding that despite Hydra traumatizing him and forcing him to commit violence, no one in the MCU (especially Black characters like Nick Fury and Sam Wilson) has to “get over” their trauma at having him hurt them in order to speak with him and make him feel better about what he’s done while under someone else’s control.

Oh wait, that’s canon. Too bad fandom hasn’t received the memo.

*finnnorgana artepen

artepen:

dazzledfirestar:

russianspacegeckosexparty:

dazzledfirestar:

side eyeing the fuck out of this but idk if it’s just… gross or what.

Like… ugh.

What kind of asshole? The kind that wants to live after you put three fucking shots in his back, FUCK WAD!

This is why I hate this fucking fandom. Fuck Bucky. Fuck his fans. You can all choke.

… I’m gonna vomit, WHY WAS THIS NECESSARY?! Nick Fury didn’t do anything to B*cky but of course, fandom warped shit into being so that no matter what Fury did or didn’t do was harmful to B*cky. Fury was busy saving the world and HAD to fake his death to help save shit, it wasn’t an offense towards B*cky. What, was he supposed to go track B*cky down personally and assure this man he doesn’t know that tried to kill him that he’s not in the wrong?

Also just… why would Bucky think that there being one less name on the list of people he killed as the Winter Soldier is a BAD THING?

Like what kind of logic even…

But I guess they just want Nick dead that badly. Just being out of the picture isn’t enough. He should have rolled over and died like a good target. Gee I wonder why they feel that way? >.>

Like just admit you hate black people and move on why even write a nasty ass ficlet that goes against everything Bucky stands for and completely ignores how it is CANON that he regrets everything he did while under hydra’s control? Like why waste the fucking time to be nasty just why?

Source: dazzledfirestar good god fandom racism

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 *This is akin to the same attitude in fandom where WoC are asked to stan for White women’s issues, but when we need the support, they are nowhere to be found, all the while, crowing about how progressive and inclusive they are. How is that any different from White men crying about how they aren’t racist while practicing it? This girl’s Twitter response to Leslie Jones harassment is the same thing.

finnnorgana artepen

sekushionyanko-blog:

ambelle:

Remember that time white feminists pitched a fit demanding that black women ( everyone’s go to attack dog ) do something to save Agent Carter from being cancelled because it was a uber feminist show. And we were meant to ignore the lack of diversity because white women were being represented. And we collectively said hell no and it was this huge thing. They are allowed to be infuriated by our rightful silence because their issues matter and ours don’t. So naturally it’s no big deal if Leslie’s co stars don’t come to her defense publicly because whatever. Fighting racism can’t be done silently or in private but again who cares it’s not happening to their fave transphobic lesbian. I never forgot that Agent Carter BS and I won’t forget this either.

#iamnotourmule

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boostergoldmansachs:

y’all… if your friend was receiving violent racial harassment for months, and the had their website hacked and their personal photos and info leaked, why would you not publicly support them?

what good is telling someone in private “hey i support you”, when you literally have the power to mobilize your own fans in defense of them?

it’s shady af that the rest of the ghostbusters cast has said nothing, it’s shady af that they haven’t been vocal, and it’s so fucking telling that all you white feminists are jumping to their defense like black women haven’t seen this shit go down thousands of times, like this hasn’t happened to us consistently over the course of our lives

like it’s obvious when people aren’t riding, and don’t intend to ride for us, and then y’all have the fucking NERVE to ask us for our support

i’m done with white women lol y’all are so myopic and selfish and honestly i’m tired of being called to the table to defend y’all when most of you cannot be bothered to think for even a MOMENT about WoC, god forbid TWoC

finnnorgana Source: boostergoldmansachs
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*This is the reason I had so much trouble watching Jessica Jones. its not even a bad show. I applaud that its talking about some controversial issues and doing so in a sensitive and forthright manner, but I couldn’t get past this part of the show. It reminded me too much of what I’d gone through in the Agent Carter fandom and how the white fans of that show mistreated the poc fans. Since Agent Carter, I’ve been very wary about appeoaching any fandom that for any show with a white female lead and a lack of poc. Its just better not to get near them.

steadfastclara:

Jessica Jones is a racist show, especially anti-black.

Not only did they kill Clemmons in a very graphic way, they also made Malcolm an addict because of course they did. But not even that gross, racist storyline was his. Kilgrave made him so, to get at Jessica and she, in turn, used him. She put him in danger, she mocked his sufferings and made his addiction about herself. Frankly, it was. We were never shown him actually fighting, resisting to it. He was an addict and then, he was fine. Eventually, he became the support system of Ruben’s sister, another white girl willing to step on him if needs be. From beginning to end, Malcolm was a pawn and a liability, his efforts to insert himself on the narrative dismissed with a patronizing pat on the back.

Luke Cage got off worse. This show was supposed to lead the way to his own show, premiering in  2016. Luke Cage, that historical hero, impervious to bullets, whose story matters so much as of now. We were introduced with is character through Jessica’s binoculars, as she stalked him.

He is shown having sex with a black woman. Said black woman, it turned out, was cheating on her husband with him, allowing us to understand a bit more about Luke as he declines her advances. A straight-up guy, he “doesn’t do drama”. Never once is that woman shamed for her choices, however. She’s confident and upfront and challenges Jessica, calling her out on her obsession with Luke. Nevertheless, she is soon forgotten, set aside to let Jessica and Luke’s story begin. She was the only black woman with a speaking role in the whole series and her potential was already conveniently abandoned before the end of the pilot.

From that moment onward, Luke is surrounded by white people. His colleague is a white guy and all his scenes are with Jessica. He has no world, no friends, no relations. He is utterly othered, rarely if ever sharing the camera with another POC and linked solely to Jessica.

Their relationship is physical, leading to many sexual scenes between the two. The spectator watches as a blooming fondness is born, a trust shared. Luke helps Jessica in many ways, his moral support giving her a drive and a new-found confidence in her abilities. That, in itself, is already symptomatic of a lack of balance in their interactions. Never once is Jessica here for him, to propel his story. So far, there is none to tell. He has no ties but her.

The truth comes out, eventually. Jessica killed his wife, a black woman once again set aside by the narrative to propel their romance. She killed her and never told him, even though she knew who he was. She tricked him, abused of his trust and only came clean because she had to. Luke doesn’t shy from stating how violated he feels, how betrayed. He is completely disgusted with the very though of having slept with his wife’s murderer, showing to the spectator how wrong Jessica’s actions were. Jessica raped him and there is nothing more painful to watch than his face as he realises what she’s done. Mike Colter plays it with such intensity and raw pain, it’s unbearable.

His plight doesn’t end here, however. Kilgrave finds him and learns about is relationship with Jessica. Because they could, the writers didn’t refrain from showing the former bewildered with the very idea of their  interracial entanglement, referring to it as a “pity shag”. He proceeds to take control of Luke, unbeknownst to the spectator. Throughout a whole episode, Luke is literally forced by the narrative to forgive Jessica, to stay near her and to offer his moral support, once more. He has no choice, no say in this. Yet, we are never showed that. His turmoil remains silent, the focus staying on Jessica and her relief at being once again the receptacle of Luke’s affection. His story and feelings are of little consequence. He is pushed back in the arms of his aggressor, by Kilgrave but also by the narrative. That state of helplessness, which is so often described as traumatizing and painful, holds only emotional weight when Jessica learns that him forgiving her wasn’t real. The consequences on his mental well-being aren’t worth dwelling into because, as per usual, only Jessica and their ship matter.

Knocked unconscious for the entirety of the finale (!!!!), Luke is powerless as Jessica holds him, kisses him and professes her love. Once again, he is but a silent witness, a barely consenting participant in that poor excuse for romance.

This show is racist and romanticizes the abuse of black people. And that’s not right in the slightest.

fandomshatepeopleofcolor Source: autisticlynch

Geeking Out About : WoC in SFF

 

 

Lately, geekdom has been having some interesting,  and contentious,  new discussions regarding diversity in some of our favorite shows and films. Women of Color have always been in it, because hey! we live on this planet, too, and I just want to give a shout out to some of my favorite WoC, who inspired my Pop Cultural geekiness.

At first, I was going to do a post just on Black women, but I decided I needed to put it up or shut it up, and include all women of color, who have brought and continue to bring their “A” to the  game and those who have and will always inspire me to be ” That Weird Black Girl”.

Nichelle Nichols image As Uhura, on the Original Star Trek, she wasn’t just a secretary, she was also an engineer. There were plenty of times we watched her fixing her communications station. She was Boss! And been credited with influencing more Black women to go into the sciences,  than any other woman on this list, including this astronaut:

image This is Dr. Mae Jemison and her flight gear handler. (Get your Google on!)

When I was ten years old, I thought Nichelle was everything a Black woman should be. Smart, elegant, graceful,  beautiful. She taught me that Black women, (that I), have a place in the future. Until Nichelle put her thing down, a lot of us had never been taught that we had a future.

Rinko Kikushi image

I have it on good authority that little Asian girls look up to the character of Mako Mori, from Pacific Rim, but Rinko makes this list because I loved her character’s  backstory, and Mako’s show of character, in fighting for what she wanted, but still respecting her adoptive father’s wishes, played by Idris Elba. Also my niece is totally little girl-crushing on that defiantly, blue streak of hair.

Lucy Liu: image

 I just like watching her.  She never seems to take any of her jobs too seriously, has a quirky sense of humor,  and always has a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

Rila Fukushima: image Throw it up! for Rila’s exemplary sword work in the movie The Wolverine. I was impressed. She’s not my picture of Yukio from the comics, but she is perfectly acceptable.

Dichen Lachman: image  Dichen has been in a number of genre TV shows, most recently Marvel Agents of Shield. She is, hands down, one of the most gorgeous Asian women on TV. And yeah, she kicks ass, too.

Saya: imageFrom Blood:The Last vampire. She’s got a sword and she’s hardcore. I will be  introducing my niece, a huge Hitgirl fan,  to Saya, this Summer.

Chun Li: image From the Streetfighter video game. I always chose this character whenever I played any version of  this game. She had some sweet and fun moves. (The movie sucked, though. We try to ignore it.)

Devon Aoki: image She starred in Sin City as the very lethal, and’ terrifyin’, Miho. Miho was all business.You do not fuck with Miho.

Eartha Kitt: image She is, as far as I’m concerned, , the first, the one, the only,  and the  true, Catwoman.

Tina Turner image As Aunty Entity, she ruled BarterTown,  in a dress made of chainmail. Seriously people! CHAINMAIL! She also had a misplaced British accent, a gang of football thugs as henchmen, and some monster trucks, so you can keep your Furiosa, because Tina got there first. (Just kiddin’! I love Furiosa.)

Rutina Wesley image The  first time I saw Tara, on True Blood, she was giving a convenience store lurker, the very erudite backside of her tongue. Afterwards, she  beat up another lady, in the store.  I couldn’t help but love her, as I have fond memories, of giving  people the business end of my tongue, when I was younger and less diplomatic, (just without the beat downs, though.)

I made the mistake of introducing my Mom to the show, in its last season. Guess who she fell in love with, right off the beat? Guess!

Freema Ageyema:  image The only Black female companion I’ve ever seen on the show, Dr. Martha Jones, also did a couple of stealth episodes of Torchwood. I’m not a huge fan of Dr. Who, but I’ve watched an episode here and there, and I enjoyed watching Martha and her family on the show.

Naomi Harris: image The first time I saw Naomi, she was bludgeoning some  guy, with a machete, and getting high on pills and falling in love with Cillian Murphy, (and who wouldn’t?) in 28 Days Later. Then, in Skyfall,  she sniped James Bond with a high powered rifle. Naomi always brings it. She is  currently Ms. Moneypenny, James’ handler, which should give us plenty of opportunities to watch her snipe at him.)

Nichole Beharrie: image I love how the writers gave Abbie Mills so much depth on Sleepy Hollow, without racializing all of her. Not everything about a Black person’s life involves race and the writers are very good to introduce the topic only when its necessary to the plot. She, her friends, and her family are all characters, who just  happen to be Black, while dealing with the Supernatural, making Sleepy Hollow unlike any other genre show on television.

Danai  Guirira: image Michonne is a total badass. If I had to pick a dream team of women to ride out the apocalypse, she’d be my first choice.

Grace Jones: imageAs a teenager, I admired the Hell out of this woman. It didn’t hurt that she dated or slept with every hot male celebrity you could think of, back in the day. From David Bowie and Adam Ant, to Dolph Lundgren. She also gets special merit for being one of the first Black female Egyptian vampires,  in the  80s movie, Vamp. She never spoke a word, and was still more terrifying than anybody in Twilight.

Jada Pinkett-Smith:image Fish Mooney, Gotham. Penguin and Fish are the two best character interactions on the entire show and the only reason to have watched it.

Rosario Dawson:image As Gail in Sin City, she liked to bite people. She is currently starring as The Night Nurse on Netflix’s Daredevil. I read a few issues of the Night Nurse when I was a little girl, so if my glee at seeing her finally depicted on the TV screen, is baffling to you, there you go.

Gina Torres:

image

I will always love Joss Whedon for this one thing. Zoe is totally in love with her husband,  tells him she will be the mother of his child one day, despite his doubts, and is a total badass, calmly tucking her Captain’s chopped off ear into her bra, while rescuing her husband from Russian Space Gangsters. Gina has always been The Queen! The Goddess! from Cleopatra 2525 to Hannibal.

Michelle Rodriguez: 

image

This is for every movie she’s ever starred in, even if she does die in all of them. Somebody get her role in a movie that she can survive, please.

Jeanette Goldstein:

image

A better movie would’ve had Vasquez team up with Ripley, to take down the Alien Queen, after all the male characters had been killed. But this is Hollywood,where only one bad ass woman, per movie, is some kind of law.

All these Women of Color are why I am, and always will be, a total Geekgirl, because like I said before, sometimes Women of Color  like to be  Heroes, too.

Tessa Thompson

Good news! We’ve just gotten confirmation that Tessa Thompson, (from Creed, Selma, And Dear White People), will be Thor’s new love interest in the next sequel. She will play a superhero of some kind. Her character isn’t named yet, so we don’t know who she’ll be. Jane Foster (who is the new Thor in the comic books) played by Natalie Portman in the movies, has left the franchise. Jaime Alexander is still present, and you’d think they’d pair Thor with Lady Sif (who I really like, btw) but the MCU has  decided to put their first black woman superhero in the Thor franchise. She will also cameo in some other superhero movies, I guess, in the same manner that Black Widow keeps showing  up in everything. Hopefully they’ll do right by this character.

Up to this point, I’ve been pretty indifferent to the Thor movies. They’re not awful, just not especially interesting to me. I did watch both of them, but can barely remember the plot of the first film, beyond Chris Hemsowrth’s abs. I think I fell asleep during the second movie when it came on TV. (I ignored it at the theater.) If this is “for reals” , though, then I am right there, opening day, to support the Hell out of this movie. It’s about time that comic book movies got their ass in gear and put some WoC up in these beechez! Seriously!

‘Creed’ Actress Tessa Thompson Joins ‘Thor’ Sequel

 

Of course there is the inevitable backlash everytime anyone who isn’t white, is not seen picking cotton in a movie, and some people had to set some fans straight about some shit on Tumblr (Tumblr always has the best fights. Even better than Twitter!)

(In particular, scroll down to abbiyholllowdays last comment, which is an analogy anyone can understand.)

How this discussion relates to Agent Carter’s fandom is directly related to how this story is understood. If you are the only person at the table receiving  food (albeit very tiny portions of food), but you look up and tell everyone else at the table to just wait for theirs , and that they’ll get theirs when you’re done with yours, this is the same thing that the Agent Carter fandom was engaging in.

Another layer to that story, is if the waiter brings someone else’s order and decides, for whatever reason, that they’re going to give it to you, instead of the person who ordered it, and you eat it anyway, knowing that you didn’t order it. This is a whitewashing equivalent. When people say ScarJo accepting  such a role, is as complicit in whitewashing as the people who chose her, this is the analogy for that.

 

An Open Letter:

I had a discussion about this at work with a friend of mine, explaining to her that tropes and stereotypes for black and white women, are often the complete opposite of each other. One of the ways patriarchy demeans all women is by associating their worth with how much men love them, and since white women are more often shown as highly desirable, that means they have great worth, although that is not the message that white women receive. The message white women receive is that they are helpless without a man, which sets the foundation for a wealth of  stereotypes.

For black women, this is the exact opposite. We are automatically undesirable, and hence, not worth anything.  Not worth saving, cherishing, or searching for in a crisis. We’re shown as these super-strong, black women, who don’t need no man,  but that is not the message we receive from that sort of self reliance. The message we get from that stereotype is that we are unlovable. Hollywood (run by old white men) can’t conceive of the idea that any man would find us beautiful or want to save  us. For such minds, it is simply unbelievable that we could be loved or cherished by anyone. In the game of  Fuck, Marry, or Kill, guess who WoC always get to be.

This is why women like Michonne, Abbie Mills, and Broomhilda, (from Django Unchained) are groundbreaking for black women. They are shown as  loved and lovable. Someone that a man believes is worth saving, and risks danger to go back for. (This is something white women get all the time and they seem to be getting quite tired of this trope, often wishing that they could be shown saving themselves.)

So when white women  get cast as love interests in a movie or show,  they don’t want to see that tired trope. Where we run into a problem, is when  white women want to apply what they want to what WoC want, as if we all have the exact same concerns in the media. White women often don’t take into account, or seem to understand, that what is an offensive trope for them, (because of how patriarchy creates these competing stereotypes to accomplish the same goals), is something that is desirable for WoC.

 

 

 

Anyway, I’m happy to see Tessa get this role. I am there to support her and hope non-black women are there for it, too (because intersectionality is a win  for everybody.)

As for this whole discussion, this is me:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hollywood : Whitewashing (Part III)

Normally, I like to celebrate and geek out about the things Hollywood is getting right but lately there has been a number of serious fuckups, that have been pointed out to us, that shows that the PTB in Hollywood are seriously out of  touch with the rest of the American people, and need to get their shit together, and undergo a serious diversity overhaul.

I know I’ve mentioned before what a huge behemoth Hollywood is, how its so large that it can be slow to change. The problem with that theory is that even in situations where Hollywood has the time, to make different types of choices, it doesn’t. I understand that often films are years in the making and the films that have been released this year are sometimes cast months (in some cases years) in advance, so I will give a tiny bit of leeway in that direction, as Hollywood probably has not fully understood just how seriously their fuckups have been on the diversity front. What I do not give a pass to are movies that have been recently cast.

For example:

MCU: The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps falling down on the diversity front. Given an opportunity to cast anything other than White men in heroic roles in the films it continues to get this  wrong. There are almost no Women of Color in the MCU, outside of Agents of Shield (two Asian women), and Daredevil’s Elektra (its depiction of Asian women is  a  problem that was just discussed). There is one Afro Latina in the MCU as Claire in Daredevil.  I guess they figured with an Afro Latina they got all their bases covered and don’t need to cast any more women of color.

Hopefully we can get some representation with Luke Cage, which is coming out in the Fall, and hopefully it won’t rely on a bunch of tropes, since Hollywood seems to find writing for black female characters to be one of the hardest things in the universe. (Perhaps if they had some black women writers behind the scenes in Hollywood, this might not be a problem.) My argument though is  we shouldn’t have to wait for a Black vehicle to see black women in the superhero universe. We should’ve been included all along.

Jessica Jones went a long way towards depicting white women in the MCU and I say white women because the one depiction they had of a black woman in that series (Luke Cage’s wife) was ignominiously murdered by the white heroine of that series, which mostly served to send the, I’d like to believe unintentional, message to its audience that there is no room in this universe for black and white women’s stories to exist together.

Agent Carter too, is a prime example of heroic white women existing at the expense of women of color, as if there’s no room for both to co-exist. Perhaps the writers of that show think Peggy will look less heroic next to women who are actually experiencing some next level hardship? Or maybe the writers are too lazy to write the kind of story that would make Peggy look heroic by helping the lives of women who don’t look like her?

Its as if Hollywood refuses to understand that White women and  WoC don’t have to be pitted against each other for a good story to be told. Their stories can and often do exist side by side and doesn’t detract from the the other’s story.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of white female heroes that I love. Like Black Widow, who has yet to get her own movie, even though the MCU was willing to make yet another film featuring a white man: Antman. A movie no one was asking for. We’ve been asking for a black Widow movie for over three years now and  it would also be nice to see a White Tiger (Latino),the original Captain Marvel (African American), or even Storm. (Catwoman doesn’t count. That movie was shit.)

Instead of giving us a Black Widow movie Hollywood has decided to make the puzzling decision to keep casting  Scarlett Johannson in worse and worse vehicles, as if they’re trying to destroy her career before they have to make that Black Widow movie we’ve been asking them for. What is their plan exactly? Keep making worse movies with her in them until her career flops and then use that as an excuse to call off the Black Widow movie they have no intention of ever making?

The less said about the DC Universe films, the better. The TV shows, on the other hand,which seems to exist exclusively on the CW, are at least trying, which is more than I can say for Marvel’s TV universe, which is incoherent and scattered all over the place.

While we are on the subject of Marvel, lets discuss: Whitewashing

Iron Fist/Dr. Strange: Whitewashing/White Savior trope:

I think I mentioned on another site that Hollywood has spent decades creating trope after trope after sterotype about PoC, so now that they have the ability to cast persons of color in movies, their castings are almost always going to be problematic no matter who they choose. Hollywood is an incredibly lazy and unimaginative place at times. They can be just as traditional and hidebound as that Auntie who spends all day/every day in church and walks around the house humming gospel songs to herself.

I know, I know, they are in the business of making money and they  like sure things, and don’t like to take many chances which is a great business model when your business doesn’t depend on being imaginative.

Ghost in the Shell: Whitewashing

Okay this photo gallery is for that asshole writer of Ghost in the Shell, who pretty much just killed his fucking movie by saying that they chose Scarlett Johannson because there are no good Asian actresses.

 

 

Or it could just be that their lazy asses couldn’t be bothered to look for any to star in their movie.

 

Gods of Egypt:Whitewashing

Nina Simone: Colorism

 

 

 

White Virgin/Whore of Color (Part II)

For those of you who liked the first article, you may be interested in reading the follow-up on Daredevil and its problematic depiction of Women in the MCU (when any women in the MCU are depicted at all.) I think perhaps the only show that escapes this dynamic is Jessica Jones but only because WoC, are entirely erased from that particular narrative.

And that’s without getting  into the movies, with their lone woman narrative, that results in Black Widow having to be all things to all women. Seriously, I love Black Widow, but she needs some friends or something.

Most of these are related to WoC depictions in media:

Race and Romance in Daredevil Season Two

http://www.alternet.org/truth-behind-strong-black-woman-stereotype

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/09/AR2005060901729.html

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ899418.pdf

 

And in my ongoing series of posts featuring issues of interest on Tumblr, here are some posts discussing media representation of sex workers:

 

 

 

blackfemalescientist:

lierdumoa:

Can we talk about how the Deadpool movie, which the media has largely referred to (in so many words) as a fuckboy’s wetdream, not only gives a female sex worker an empathetic role, but treats her and her work more respectfully than about 99% of so called feminist media?

.

At no point does the movie imply that Vanessa is tainted because she is a sex worker. At no point does the movie imply that Vanessa is unworthy of love because she is a sex worker.

At no point is Vanessa portrayed as “broken.”

At no point does the movie imply that being a sex worker makes Vanessa a bad girlfriend. At no point does Deadpool ask or expect Vanessa to sacrifice her job for their relationship.

At no point is Vanessa slut-shamed for her job, by either protagonists or villains.

Think about that.

Denigrating sex workers is so taboo within the Deadpool movieverse that even the villains won’t do it.

We know that Vanessa experienced sexual abuse, and that it’s shaped the person she’s become and influenced the choices she’s made. The movie clearly acknowledges that sexual abuse is real, and that it is damaging, and that people who experience sexual abuse struggle to lead “normal” lives and get “normal” jobs.

But the movie never hands sexual abusers the mic.

There is no sexual abuse porn in this movie. There are no voyeuristic rape flashbacks. There are no misogynist monologues. The audience learns about Vanessa’s abusive past from Vanessa, on Vanessa’s terms, through Vanessa’s own words.

This seems like the bare minimum of dignity any female character should be granted, yet so much media fails to meet this extremely low bar.

The movie makes it very clear that Vanessa has a life outside of sex work. She does not live on a stripper pole. Sex work is something Vanessa does. Sex work is not who Vanessa is. She has an apartment. She wears pajamas. What other fictional universe can say the same? I can think of one tv show, but that’s about it, and that show’s viewership is nothing compared to Deadpool’s.

Now on the one hand, I’m not necessarily happy that Vanessa’s character arc revolves almost entirely around her romantic relationship with the lead male protagonist. But on the other hand, I find it very refreshing to see a sex worker in the media whose character arc does not revolve entirely around the fact that she is a sex worker. Hate to say it, but for sex workers in the media, being relegated to the role of love interest is actually a step up.

Most feminist media would rather pretend sex workers don’t exist than write storylines of any kind for them.

I also thought it was nice that she was a sex worker and a damsel in distress. Like, you don’t often see people going out of the way to save sex workers. If they are shown in danger (rather than as dead bodies for the main character to analyze) then no one is looking for them. Its only when the villain threatens the non sex worker that the main characters mobilize to stop whatever villain is threatening. Its nice and sadly refreshing for the rescue to center on someone who hasn’t “earned” it with her “purity”.

(via christel-thoughts)

 

More Scarlett Johansson stuff:

iterativeimprovement:

triplehamburgerjack:

lovemyths:

arkynn:

“nothing against scarlett”

why not? she the one who went out for the audition and is okay with actively participating in whitewashing. its not like she cant get work lol. why we gotta act like actors have no control over their contribution to racism??

I never understand why people say things like that. Like “no offense to *insert famous actor*”. The actor who accept the role that whitewashes is just as responsible as those who casted them. All of the blame cannot just be placed on the casting director because the actor actively accepted that role. They could’ve said no but the money that they will make is much more important than combatting racism. ScarJo could’ve said no to the role. This could be said for all the other actors who have accepted roles that have whitewashed. ScarJo isn’t scrambling for roles, she definitely isn’t have a hard time getting casted.

AND SHE NOT BROKE

I want to see an actor of Asian descent in that role as much as the next guy, but something tells me we wouldn’t be having this Outrage Of The Day conversation if Johannsen didn’t take that role. Because let’s be real, if she didn’t take the role, there’s a good chance the film wouldn’t have been greenlit at all, and we wouldn’t have anything to be mad about.

Or rather, we we wouldn’t have this particular thing to be mad about. There’s always something to get worked up over.

There’s an excellent chance the movie would have happened without Scarlet Johansson. It’s been kicking around for awhile & Rinko Kikiuchi certainly proved her chops in Pacific Rim & Kumiko. If anything the casting of ScarJo is going to ensure this movie flops. See Last Airbender, Gods Of Egypt & Exodus for recent examples of what whitewashing does for these properties.

 

And, while we’re at it, let’s bust Disney’s ass for their shit:

raptorific:

Seriously, it surprises me that people still don’t get that “whitewashing” doesn’t just mean “taking a character of color and turning them white,” but also applies to “focusing disproportionately on the stories of white people,” “glossing over or altering parts of a story to make it more palatable or make white people look better,” and “treating ‘white’ as the default race”

The fact that Disney churns out film after film after film after film about white people with a maximum of one film per ethnicity that showcases a group other than white people is whitewashing.

The fact that the story of “Pocahontas” (not her real name) has been substantially altered so that some of the white people in that story don’t look like such villains, with John Smith younger and Pocahontas significantly older, as well as recounting a popular myth of her saving John Smith from near-execution (a story John Smith made up to make himself look brave, the real Pocahontas told him to stop telling and hated him for using her to make himself look good, and he started to spread like wildfire after she died because she could no longer object) is whitewashing.

The fact that the characters on “How I Met Your Mother” are all white, and they supposedly live in New York City, but apparently associate exclusively with other white people (with the exception of Wayne Brady, who occasionally visits from out of town, and a recurring taxi driver) is whitewashing.

The fact that the Doctor has now been a white man a full twelve times in a row is whitewashing even though the character’s always been white, because the idea that there’s a character whose entire appearance can change in a matter of seconds, yet ends up white twelve times in a row by pure random chance, implies that white is a neutral default and other races are a deviation from that norm.

The fact that people get really angry at the suggestion that characters like Newt Scamander or Hermione Granger could beblack because the books never explicitly say “they are black” is whitewashing.

Because that’s the thing. People often assume that when someone’s race isn’t explicitly specified, they’re white. Peopleinsist that Katniss Everdeen must be white because it is possible for them to rationalize that idea in their head. People think of white as “raceless” and every other color or ethnicity as “raced,” and that’s what we call “eurocentrism.“

And that’s the thing about whitewashing. It’s this idea that a “person” is white, and a “person of color” is black or asian or arab or latin@ or whatever they might be.

It’s why people call John Stewart the “Black Green Lantern” but just call Hal Jordan the “Green Lantern.” It’s why Miles Morales is called “Black Spider-man” but Peter Parker is just “Spider-man.” If you want to throw gender into the mix, it’s why Jennifer Walters is the “She-Hulk” but Bruce Banner isn’t the “He-Hulk.”

People think “character” is white and “character + black” is black. There is no default race. Community did a whole episode about how a truly raceless character would look something like this monstrosity:

But there’s the tricky part: Once you stop thinking of white characters as “character” and start thinking of them as “character + white,” it becomes really overwhelming how many characters are white.

I mean, I know there’s a kerfuffle over Disney Princesses right now, so let’s look at the list of official Disney Princesses, shall we? That is, let’s look at the list and include everyone’s race, not just the princesses of color:

  • Snow White + White
  • Cinderella + White
  • Aurora + White
  • Ariel + White
  • Belle + White
  • Jasmine + Arab
  • Pocahontas + Native American
  • Mulan + Asian
  • Tiana + Black
  • Rapunzel + White
  • Merida + White
    Soon to be added:
  • Anna + White
  • Elsa + White

4 of those 13 women are women of color. All four of those women of color are different races than one another. At the moment, the number of white princesses is seven, but it’s about to go up to nine. All nine of those princesses are the same race as one another, despite a few of them being different nationalities, although most of them hail from Western Europe.

And a lot of people are saying “but they’re just accurately portraying the parts of the world those stories are set in!” First of all, the presence of a person of color has never been implausible in any part of the world, in any period of human history. Hell, a bunch of these movies were set after Shakespeare had born, lived, and died, but he still managed to write a play set centuries earlier featuring a black male lead in Italy.

Second, and most importantly, it’s not like they are being assigned a setting at random and have to accommodate it in their character designs. The people at Disney choose to set film after film after film in France and Germany and Denmark.

It’s not that those areas produce more or better fairy tales and folk tales than any of the other continents, it’s that the stories that come from those areas are the ones Disney considers universal.

In the eyes of Disney, there’s a Princess for Black little girls to look up to, a Princess for Native little girls to look up to, a Princess for Arab little girls to look up to, a Princess for Asian little girls to look up to, and nine princesses for all little girls to look up to. It’s no coincidence that in almost all promotional art featuring the “Princess Lineup,” Jasmine, Tiana, Mulan, and Pocahontas are all standing in the back, usually obscured by other whitePrincesses’ dresses, while the blonde lady brigade stands in the front.

And that is whitewashing.

(via christel-thoughts)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just one little problem sometimes:

 

I think you’ve all read my little rants about inclusivity of Women of Color in genre films. I’m a believer in intersectional feminism. It’s too bad that too many white women, in too many fandoms, only seem to be out for what they can get out of genre media, and don’t support the efforts of Women of Color to be included in these stories.

Nevertheless, they want WoC to support them in being represented, while telling us to wait our turn, as long as they get their representation first. It’s something that seriously pisses me off, to be told I have to support what they want, yet none of them make any effort at all to support (or speak up about) what WoC might want, which is not to be erased from these genres. When we do speak up for ourselves, (as they’re certainly not going to do it), we’re told to be quiet, and quit spoiling things for women by complaining.

For example, the new Wonder Woman movie I have no intention of watching if it lacks inclusion of WoC.

This is an example of the ongoing discussions people  are having on tumblr about this issue:

 

Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

Walking by Sight, NOT Faith!

woolandgraceblog.wordpress.com/

knitting, needlepoint & blogging in Summit, NJ

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