First, Spoiler Alert if you haven’t been watching so far. Lex Luthor is Black. I must admit that I got excited when I saw him. We’ve only seen him once so far, but we know he is Black, wealthy, technologically advanced, and angry. I tried to get into the show Krypton and just couldn’t do it, but Superman and Lois treads a more familiar path, and perhaps pathos. How can one feel pity for a superman? When Superman is trying to eek out a normal existence as a husband and a parent while also trying to be available to save the world at a moment’s notice. Being the world’s savior is the life that he chose, but he couldn’t possibly have imagined all of the consequences that would come along with it. And, how does one prioritize being a family man at moments when the world also needs you.
So far, these themes are being explored in Superman and Lois on The CW. CW sci-fi shows are very hit or miss, but they seem to be taking their time with world-building. Clark Kent is the father of twins, one struggling with mental health issues, and husband to Lois Lane. Lois Lane is as she always is- a strong, trail-blazing reporter. However, they are having trouble connecting as a family and, due to the death of Martha Kent and the risk of losing the farm, end up moving back to Smallville. Also as usual, Superman wrestles with the themes of success and superiority based on natural ability vs. meritocracy and what that means for society as a whole.
Thus far, Lex Luthor is not the main villain of the show, which is good because it leaves the viewer guessing. I am looking forward to seeing if they can flesh out Lex Luthor’s character and motivations, and particularly, whether his Blackness will play any role in his everfresh beef with Superman. We shall see.
This has to be the most unexpected, sleeper hit of all of the Star Treks. Nobody would have thought we needed another animated series, but this is everything! So many deep cuts that appeal to hardcore Trekkies and enjoyable for even the casual viewer. Seriously, no Star Trek has ever had a solid first season. Ever. Until now. After the newest Star Trek movies, Discovery, and Picard started off rocky as hell, many were questioning whether we could have another Trek that hit the right balance of seriousness and camp. Lower Decks won everyone over by the end of the season and I expect great things for Season 2!
Side note, why/how is Johnathan Frakes so darn good at directing? Can we just make him a show runner with his own series?
Lots of Black characters in this show: A Black captain, a Black lead character, a Black admiral, and a Black engineer so far. And, an Orion!
Everyone is enjoying The Falcon & Winter Soldier, right? The show has stimulated some good awareness of the atrocities committed against black people (note, everything is not about the Tuskegee experiment.) Once one tragedy enters the public awareness, we have a tendency to run it into the group. We still need to have a larger, deeper conversation about the treatment and atrocities committed against Black soldiers, which is really the crux of the story of Isaiah Bradley. Black soldiers, still in the midst of the inhumane treatment during the Jim Crow era, were used, abused, and treated like cannon fodder in pursuit of the country’s anti-imperialist conflicts, while treating Black soldiers little better than beasts of burden. Many were left broken with little recompense and recognition for their monumental sacrifices. Carl Lumbly has done a superb job portraying the pain and resignation of a man who had his hope crushed and, then, turned in on itself. Just trying to eek out a small, peaceful life of someone who just desires to be left alone. Everything was taken from him.
While we have been exploring and analyzing the racial context and messages in The Falcon and Winter Soldier, I haven’t seen anyone address Karli Morgenthau’s blackness/biracialness. On the innanets, people seem to really dislike the character and struggle to follow the Flag Smashers’ motivations under her leadership. Marvel Studios, to its credit, has built a fascinatingly diverse cast with chemistry that doesn’t feel forced in any way. Karli’s race has not been asserted in the show and I have to wonder how many viewers even realize that she is of Black/African descent. I knew she was Black right away, as I will assume most Black viewers did. We come in infinite combinations and most of us learn from a young age to identify each other in the most subtle ways. Interestingly, in the television show, Karli was intentionally gender-swapped and de-aged from the comics by the showrunners to provide more representation for young women and a different perspective.
The Flag Smashers represent an issue that doesn’t receive attention in the United States very often. Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are escaping crime, armed conflict, coups, food insecurity, and other threats to their survivals in their own countries, different than refugees. The most similar experience we have had in the United States is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the case of the Blip, all governmental and civil society infrastructure was disrupted for 5 years. When things came back, people understandably started to rebuild things as they had been, older power structures, old wealth structures. Some of those who had been left behind didn’t want to go back to the old ways, instead they thought things were before during the Blip. They would perhaps be appropriately described as anarcho-terrorists. In the show, the Patch Act is in the process of being voted on, which would return all of the stateless to their previous countries, which many did not want nor did the camps have the capacity to handle.
Given that Karli’s racial identity hasn’t been addressed in the show, but assuming that she is mixed race from the UK as the actor is, it stands to wonder whether there is another story to be told, other than just the perspective of young leader. Is there an expected allegiance between Sam and Karli because of their potentially similar experiences with discrimination? Does she hold back on harming him and his family because of familiarity? What does it mean to her to see a Black Captain America, especially given her experiences with imperialism and authoritarianism. How does Sam feel? Does he empathize with her perspective in ways he can’t express? He connected with her, but the conversation was cut short, unfortunately. He explores his shared experiences regarding Isaiah, but what about with Karli?
Overall, the writers have knocked it out of the park so far. You know you dun gud when racist fans are mad and calling you SJWs all over the internet, as if social justice hasn’t been at the core of Marvel since the beginning. Fun fact, over half of the series’ writing staff are Black.
So, what say say you? Does her background matter? Do you want to know more about Karli and the rest of the Flag Smashers? Do you empathize with their goals?
One more episode left. The finale is April 23, 2021 at 3:01AM EST. Are you staying up to watch?
In a March 18, 2021 Deadline interview between Anthony D’Alessandro and Malcolm Spellman, Malcolm said this:
Can you tell us about the specific details of the pitch you fumbled? I’ll tell you at the end of the season. I really want somebody to get Kevin to talk about the original run because it was so on point. It was so on point it was like ‘Oh, no, we can’t do that.’
WTheck does this mean??? Are we going to get the Spellman cut at some point???
I hope I never need to write a post like this again….but, it is extremely likely that I will. My heart is heavy. It aches for all of the lives lost due to individual and systemic racism and bigotry, but what I want to highlight in this post is xenophobia. Sometimes, I worry that the words racism and bigotry have run the euphemism treadmill to become so trite and cliche that we have forgotten the pain and the power behind them. So, let’s turn to a less oft-used, elegant, and very much applicable term: xenophobia. Xenophobia is defined as the fear and hatred of strangers and foreigners or of anything that is strange and foreign. We hear the term more frequently used in conversations about immigration and human rights and it is perfectly appropriate here.
Those of us who are of like-minds dream of a future where black skin does not engender fear and hatred… just by existing. We are human and, regardless of how we arrived where we reside, we are here and we belong. George Floyd, whatever failings he may have had, was an American. Yet, despite being an American citizen, throughout his life he was treated as a stranger, never quite belonging enough to be seen as “family” or even a neighbor. Part of “belonging” is not having to be perfect all the time, and being granted grace and mercy when our failings overwhelm us. Sometimes, you get to have a bad day. Too often, being black is living with the constant reminder that being our normal, imperfect selves can lead to our deaths.
Research confirms what the streets have been saying for years: White people think Black people are superhuman. They think we are magical. On the face of it, it sounds pretty cool. Who wouldn’t want to be Superman? But, being “super” creates fear among those who work within a system not designed to deal with those “seem” different. It is inherently dehumanizing, which allows use to lose our empathy. It creates this fantastical idea that a grown man in a position of authority can kneel on a black man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and that he shouldn’t die. “How dare he have the nerve to die on camera and cause us all these problems?” By his inhumane treatment of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin became a monster, plumbing the darkest depths of his soul, someone he probably didn’t recognize. Wrath is a sin.
Yet, this is bigger than Derek Chauvin and the other officers involved in George Floyd’s death. The system that they are a part of attempted to defend their irresponsible use of force and refusal to render aid until it was too late. George Floyd’s death was entirely preventable and unnecessary. When systems forget the human, the systems must be overhauled. Dismantled and rebuilt, if necessary. Empathy and ethics can and must be trained and demanded at every level of the justice system. We should all be demanding change, lest it be us in a situation one day.
When I mention Black rights in space, this is what I mean at core. The right to exist. The right to make mistakes and be appropriately punished for them, yet not end up dead. The right to be ordinary. We are not superhuman. We have to overcome the fear that has been built into the very psyche of the country, and likely the world. Ethical action cannot come from fear. Black people are humans. Black people are humans. Black people will be human on Mars too. What happens when actual aliens show up?
Things Black people can’t safely do (and white people, you better be careful doing them too):
Sleep in their beds
Walk home at night
Stop at a house to ask for help after a car wreck
Wait for their child at a bus stop
Go in their own house
Have a busted taillight
Act like a child when they are an actual child
Reach for their driver’s license after being told to show their driver’s license
Beat a racist’s a** after they were attacked for no reason
Have a cookout in a public park with grills
Walk their dog
Go for a jog
Cosplay as their favorite anime character
Pay with a $20 bill
We can be better; we have to be better. Black rights are human rights. This verdict is a step toward accountability, but it doesn’t feel like justice.
Michael Dorn just tweeted this! Get hype, everyone! Can we also talk about how beautiful and well-preserved this man is?! Despite all those years of wearing Worf’s makeup that irritated his skin. His Black is not cracking!
Just got the news, being summoned back into action. Starfleet calls. #ad
We don’t know what he will be doing yet, but it is about time the Trek stopped frontin’ on Michael Dorn’s skills. He’s been shopping a Klingon-focused Star Trek for about a decade to no avail. Maybe this is the beginning of his Renaissance. *fingers crossed*
From the looks of it, it appears that he will be Assistant Director of an episode. I seriously hope it is more than that. Let me know if you find out anything more about his role. I want to be first in line!
We need to give him his flowers while he’s still with us.
Aka When They Try to Touch Your Hair. Get ’em, Ayo!
This scene spoke to my soul. How many times has someone invaded your personal space without permission? These “pointy sticks” are made of vibranium, Great Value Captain America. And, Bucky thinking his interceding would somehow stop the fight? Nope, you can catch these hands too, Buck. LOL
Thankfully, this hasn’t happened to me in a long time, but I still have shower moments when the memory of when I didn’t check someone for stroking my hair. It was in a professional context, so I was caught a little off balance. The act sent an actual shiver down my spine. I let the whole culture down by not saying something. I’m sorry y’all.
You ever watch a movie that was so bad that it made you mad??? I remember hearing about this movie when it was in development. Peeps were a little excited because, let’s be honest, we all yearn for a good X-men movie. This was initially marketed that way. I’m convinced that rumor got started before anyone saw the actual storyboards for this. In fact, I choose to believe that the studio greenlit this movie without talking to any of the comic creators. Yes, it was that bad, and I’m trying to be fair.
How do you take a cast studded with extremely talented young actors and just waste them? How do you make a movie seem like it was given a huge budget and not enough money all at the same time? Who was the audience for this movie? I just can’t.
Plot synopsis: Five powered young people whose powers have caused death and mayhem find themselves in an institution to learn to control their powers. It is somewhat suggested that they are being trained to be X-men, though this is less clear in the movie. In reality, they are being assessed by the Essex Corporation to determine whether their powers are useful or dangerous. The main character’s powers (Dani) were left unexplained for most of the movie, but she is eventually deemed too dangerous to live. They live in a creepy, abandoned hospital that they slowly realize they can’t leave of their own volition. They go through emotional breakdowns, they kiss, they fight, and, then, they team up to try to overthrow the evil doctor to escape. Smiling men, puppets, and demon bears, oh my! The End.
New Mutants is supposed to be a horror trilogy, but it is more teenage angst-y. It’s like someone got lit and said, “What if we make Twilight meets Legion?” Alas, Anya Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of Magik is passable, but it was like she was in an entirely different movie. Thankfully, the sequels were cancelled, so there won’t be any followups.
It’s a pandemic and I didn’t have anything better to do, so I finished it. But, yo, they put this out in theaters in 2020; could you imagine catching the ‘Rona for this?
And, since this is BlackTrekkie, let’s talk about representation. First, there are no black actors in this movie. The main character is Native American, a group that often suffers from the same lack of depth and reliance on stereotypes in their portrayals in the media. In this movie, her cultural background is simply used as a plot device and is barely shown. This is an inexcusable shame, given the opportunity to offer viewers a glimpse into a culture we rarely see. Second, Sunspot is supposed to be Afro-Brazilian and dark-skinned and Dr. Reyes is a Black woman in the comics. One of the creators, Bob McLeod, has gone on record criticizing their inaccurate portrayals. The movie was shelved for three years, but it had been in development since 2009. Someone at some point should have spoken up and said that this would be unwise with fans. Even in 2009, we knew better right?
1 out of 4 stars. I kinda want you to watch it so that we can compare notes. Actually, nah, don’t.
(but, I know you’re going to watch it anyway because it has Mutants in the name. I see you.)
I haven’t written on here in such a long time. Honestly, I haven’t been sure that my input was needed. There are so many black geek/blerd blogs out there now and so much energy about afrofuturism that I haven’t been sure what my unique contribution could/should be. But, we still out here, y’all!
Also, it seems like all of these blogs are getting sneak peeks of new shows and products. How does one get that kind of access if you don’t live in LA or near where the shows are being filmed? Hit me up if you know.
When I logged in, I saw all of your messages. I am so grateful! Shout out to all the spammers who post who post the most random of things. How do y’all even find this blog? LOL
I am planning to keep it light at first. There’s so much new media out there; there are so many black creators who are getting some shine these days; black geekdom has gained wide accepted. We went from begging for representation and having to be happy with pittances to being everywhere now! We still have a ways to go on overcoming tropes and stereotypes, but we are making so much progress, y’all! I am so happy!
That said, it seems we have reached an inflection point. As much as Blackness is being celebrated, black bodies are still being treated as threats; we are still dying earlier from treatable and preventable diseases; our mothers and babies are dying due to health inequities; and wealth inequality is reaching dangerous levels. We’re going to talk about these things here too. I wasn’t joking about Black rights in space.
Oh, and lastly, shouts to everyone who posted my little Vulcan avatar. It tickles me every time I see it! My web design skills are seriously lacking, so I love that y’all find value in it.
Much love to all of you! Stay healthy, stay strong!