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    Sunday, September 16, 2018

    Michael B Jordan Might Make a Better Icon than a Kal-EL....The Need For a Black Superman (Not Clark Kent)



    I remember at the time, actress, Michelle Rodriguez (above clip) exclaimed,"Stop stealing all the White peoples' superheroes!", I was relieved that someone gave an honest response regarding the flip side of the need for "minority representation in cinema" debate.  And then, of course, I knew the court of (disingenuous) public opinion would weigh in, forcing her to do the requisite mea culpa.  Without coming off as hypocritical, there is a place for an alternate interpretation or reimagining that could allow for race/gender/culture/sexuality "bending" a character.  Unfortunately, these changes oftentimes don't come about organically.  I've spoken about this trend in previous posts and now I'm being pulled back in the discussion due to the alleged departure of Henry Cavill from the Superman role and the DCEU proper.  To be accurate, as I am drafting this article, it still isn't wholly confirmed that Cavill has left the role, however, Killmonger himself, Michael B. Jordan has come up in the media as one of a number of actors that might be seen as a replacement.

    Let me be perfectly clear, it might be time to explore the idea of a Black Superman.....just not Clark Kent.  This need to literally take the place of a historically White character as opposed to exploring a project that gives the minority audience "autonomy" befuddles me.  During our last podcast, we delved into the mythology of Milestone Media's Superman analogue, Icon. The feedback from that episode affirmed that there are enough existing characters of color (and others ready to be made) that are worthy of print exploration and cinematic depiction.  Icon, like Superman, is an alien who adopts Earth as his planet, however he differs from the Man of Steel not only by phenotype but also with a backstory that starts from the antebellum South to the present.  And then, let's be mindful that there are "Black" Kryptonians.  DC Comics, to my knowledge, has not explored what that really means.  To be more specific, the Val Zod character exists as a Black Superman but we have yet to see him operate as an "alien" navigating Earthen notions of a pigmentocracy.  Check out artist, BossLogic's almost immediate rendition of Jordan as Val Zod (and not Kal-El):




    Admittedly, the picture is bad ass.....but what does it mean if there's no story or investment from the audience for this character?  And again, this is under the assumption that he's not just a visual stand in for canonically White looking Kal-El.  We should be well beyond the "fish out of water" oddity trope when it comes to exploiting audiences' prurient interests.  Even the J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter character, who also possesses an Africoid visage as a fictional extraterrestrial acknowledges his Blackness:





    I have said on numerous occasions on Afronerd Radio, I want real and fictional Black Ubermenschen in the public sphere......just on our own terms.  By the way, I'm not keen on Jordan as Icon but I yearn for the discourse....to be continued.
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