Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
My husband and I watched Will Smith’s After Earth earlier this week. Though the movie was not what I expected, the one thing I really appreciated was that there was not just one, but two Main Characters of Color. Will Smith and his son Jaden. This was the first time I’ve seen, two leading men of color in a sci-fi movie and it made me wonder: How often do you see a MCoC in a sci-fi or fantasy based movie?
Now I am not an obsessed follower of everything science-fiction and fantasy. But the two actors that come to mind that have played a MCoC in a sci-fi or fantasy based movie are: Vin Diesel in Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, Babylon, A.D., and the upcoming Riddick. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was lead in The Scorpion King, and will be lead in the upcoming Hercules.
With women, the numbers seem nonexistent. Besides Zoe Saldana’s recent role as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, I would quicker find women of color in television roles. Characters such as my girl Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth in Fringe (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a series worth watching), Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne in Firefly, and Michelle Rodriguez as Ana Lucia Cortez in Lost.
Most of the time, when you do find a character of color in a sci-fi/fantasy based movie they are playing a co-star or a guest role. They may die early in the movie or play a role that’s less than appealing.
Recently, Beyoncé played a character of color but not as herself. She was the mother-nature like queen in the Blue Sky Studios animated movie Epic. Her character died within the first few minutes of the movie. (Sigh) There was also Anika Noni Rose as Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. She played the voice of the princess in the movie and starts off as a young, struggling waitress with aspirations of becoming a restaurateur. Originally the character was created as chambermaid. This drew a lot criticism from African-American critics. Another issue that caused criticism of the movie was that the black villain in the movie was a voodoo witchdoctor. Thankfully her character survived in this movie. LOL.
I believe Will’s star power had a big hand in the creation of After Earth. It makes me wonder if anyone was brazen enough to tell him that he could not make himself and his son the main characters of the movie. I hope he understood the importance of this movie. Not the movie itself, but what it meant to have two main characters of color that did not die within the first few minutes of the movie! LOL! There are not a lot of father son stars out there that are men of color (or mother daughter duos for that matter) but I hope this movie has opened the door to more movies such as these. Smart move Mr. Smith, smart move!
** I should have also mentioned Halle Berry in Cloud Atlas. As lead female character of color, she played six different roles.
Mari e laipe!
See you soon!
Thanks for visiting ‘Amachi is Hope.’ If you were inspired or felt a connection with today’s blog (or any of my previous entries) please leave a comment. J