TV is jam packed with fictional heroes of every kind. You have superheroes, both animated and real; historical heroes from a time that had never passed and of course your day to day, average Joes. From series like ‘The Avengers:Earths Mightiest Heroes’ to ‘Game of Thrones’, from ‘The 100’ to ‘Arrow’, we have an endless supply of heroes roaming around our screens. Todays questions really just come from a fan who is in need of some heroes in which he can actually relate to.
Like most children and young people, TV was my everything; its where I picked up a lot of my influences and where I found the figures I would aspire to be like. As a nerdy young black boy, it took awhile for me to actually become interested and look up to great worldly figures such as Martin Luther King, Malcom X and Nelson Mandela. So my first heroes were the men and women i saw running across my little black TV protecting the world. The problem I had with these heroes a lot of the time was that I just couldn’t relate to any of them. Usually big blue eyed, blonde haired with rippling muscles from small towns in America or in cases like ‘Game of Thrones’, big bearded sword wielding white guys from a little old place called Westeros. I mean they looked cool and everything but they were the opposite from me in nearly every possible way. I often found myself asking why black people couldn’t be heroes too.
As time went on, and hollywood strived to become more diverse we started to see the odd sprinkling of colour in the all white roster of TV heroes. I remember the first time I saw ‘Static Shock’ and the first time I saw John Stewart in ‘Justice League Unlimited’ I was immediately drawn to them, for the first time there were people like me. Imagine being a kid and finally having heroes you could dress up as and without feeling fake or awkward. It was a special time. As I grew up, got wiser and started to notice more things, I started to realise a trend in these shows however. Barring Static Shock, which unfortunately was cancelled, most of these shows had only one black character and that character wasn’t really ever necessary to the main plot. They were really just sidekicks and lackeys to the that same big blue eyed, blonde haired man with the rippling muscles from a small town in America. Don’t even get me started on Westeros, I love Game of Thrones but there are more dragons on that show then black people. I get its meant to echo the medieval period, but still, I just find that absurd. Hopefully with shows like Luke Cage and shows like Young Justice gaining global success we will see a rise in the number of programs with black heroes as their leads.
What I’m really asking in this piece is simply, don’t you think it’s time black heroes got some shine too? We’re tired of having to look up to sidekicks and lackeys. Why do we still have this problem in 2017?
Black Heroes Needed.