I created a few illustrations of famous people of colour like Idris Alba, Obama, Chance the Rapper and Donald Glover (all for reasons, they aren’t completely randomly selected) for the zine/illustrated essay. However, during a tutorial I was asked why I was drawing all these famous men. It was a question I could not answer. I’ve been focusing so much on the stories online I’ve heard about them concerning racial issues, that I seemed to have missed the fact that it’s not entirely relatable for me. I’m taking a step back. But first;
Idris Elba was said to be “a bit too rough to play the part [of James Bond]” by writer Anthony Horowitz. While I can’t say it is because of Elba’s colour (as Horowitz later suggested another black actor and also apologised for his comment and protested that it was not “a colour issue”), there was a rage on social media such as twitter, users unable to believe where the ‘street’ or ‘rough’ accusation could come from with a man as ‘suave’ as 43 year old actor, Elba.
Donald Glover often talks about black-white relations in interviews and I wanted to illustrate some of his quotes. I quite like the first edit/illustration, and though I disliked the set up of the wording on the the pink striped image – Stereotypes – I like the colour scheme and the bubbles around him. I felt like they might have worked better with the masculinity quote upon reflection however.
Interestingly, Glover also experienced some resistance from internet users when the idea that he could be a candidate for a white character – namely superhero Spiderman – floated into being. Though he never became the Peter Parker that the world knows and loves, he was given the opportunity to voice a new Spiderman for the animated television series; 13-year old Black-Latino Miles Morales. I find it interesting that the idea of a black actor playing a fictional white character should be such an outrageous idea- noticed when I read the Forbes article below. Especially as a big conversation that took place last year concerned how often white actors were playing people of colour when directors could have easily found actors of the necessary races.
I very much like what writer and co-creator of the new animated Spiderman series, Brian Bendis, said about the young Miles Morales;
Many kids of color who, when they were playing superheroes with their friends, their friends wouldn’t let them be Batman or Superman, because they don’t look like those heroes but they could be Spider-Man because anyone could be under the mask.
First black president, paving the way for change.
Need I say more?